The Bott Family Heritage
Joseph Barfoot Bott
Margaret Allan Fyfe
By Annette Bott Richards
History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.
– Sir Winston Spencer Churchill
“No one can ever really know who he is until he knows his ancestors”, so said the author of “Roots”, Alex Haley. His genealogical research on his own family back to Africa gave us his famous book and subsequent television mini-series which has had an incredible influence on people world-wide. Suddenly, many, many people wanted to know more about their own ancestry, and this interest has not decreased, but instead has accelerated since that time.
WORLD CONFERENCE ON RECORDS
President Spencer W. Kimball of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke at the 1980 World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City, saying, “Whether we recognize it or not, we are connected with our past, and we can fashion a better future if we draw upon the inspiration of the past and the lessons of History, both as a people and individually . . . When there is proper regard for the past and its people, we enrich the present as well as the future.”
For Mormons, as we are called, there is much more to it than just a mere curiosity. There is a great concern for our connection to our ancestors and they to us, and it goes far beyond this life but into the eternities as well. They are indeed a part of us; and we have their genes that make us what we are today. We are here, blessed to be a part of the American scene, because of the actions of our ancestors.
THE GREAT SACRIFICE
The desire to start a new life in this land of opportunity could easily have been for economic reasons because life in Europe and Great Britain was never easy, and often living conditions were very difficult, taking every ounce of strength, fortitude and hard work just to keep body and soul together. However, for the Botts and Hunters/Fyfes and many thousands of other people, they left their native land to be with the “Saints” in Utah where the gathering of those converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was taking place.
There were sacrifices that had to be made such as leaving family members who chose not to participate in the cause they had embraced, with the probability they would not see them again in this life. It also meant traveling across the ocean under very difficult circumstances to an unfamiliar part of the world, and starting over. This would not be easy, but, I, for one, will be eternally grateful to them for the choices they made.
There is a story to be told here that all of the descendants of “Maggie and Joe” [Margaret Allen Fyfe and Joseph Barfoot Bott] need the opportunity to hear. For that purpose is this history written. Thanks to Aunt Myrtle Hewitt, Beverly Betts Nye, Ruth Bott (Bert’s wife), and perhaps others, much has been recorded about their lives, but for me, this is not enough. It needs to go back in time to the roots of our families in the mother country, the British Isles, where it all began. The goal of this writer is to bring to all descendants who might be interested, insight into the lives of these special grandparents and the environment into which they were born.
As a student in the tenth grade, I studied English history and was absolutely fascinated by what I was learning. This interest never left me, and as I grew older, I began to study England and Scotland from a different perspective. This time I began a serious study of the genealogical records of the people, my British ancestors.
I give my mother, Ruth Bott, much credit for collecting information on the Botts long before Marilyn and I were old enough to be interested in the research. Ren and Hazel Bott and Secelia Morris from the John Henry Bott family who have also helped tremendously. Together, Marilyn and I have updated and added new information to our family records, doing much research ourselves and using professional researchers where necessary. We have come to appreciate our progenitors and the difficult circumstances in which they had to live. We have come to know them in a way, and I hope that through this history, you, too, can come to appreciate them more. May you ponder the things that are written here because it is your heritage as well as mine.
Annette Bott Richards
My desire, then, is to pursue this avenue of thought and give the reader “some food for thought” and show that the British Isles have been watched over by the Lord through out the centuries for a very special reason. That this island was to play an important role in the restoration of His Gospel in the nineteenth century by a young modern-day prophet, Joseph Smith. I also want to tie this into our Scottish and English heritage and the role that the families of “Grammy and Papa” [Maggie and Joe] played in this restoration.
TRIBES OF EPHRAIM AND JUDAH
The scriptures tell us that prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel left captivity in Assyria and traveled northward. Many of them, primarily those of the tribe of Ephraim, dropped out of the group of travelers along the way, settling in various northern countries as they traveled. With the mixture of people settling in Britain, there is no doubt that many of them had the blood of Ephraim coursing through their veins. Of course the remaining tribes continued in a northward pattern and were subsequently lost to the world. The tribes of Judah and part of Benjamin stayed in Jerusalem at that time, but eventually were scattered following the destruction of Jerusalem, and as Jews, are presently in the process of returning to their homeland.
It is common knowledge that some of the descendants of the tribe of Judah became the royalty of Great Britain and Europe, while those of the tribe of Ephraim were the common man, many who would eventually be converted to the restored church, and carry on the work of the Lord, Jesus Christ in fulfilling the great Plan of Salvation of our Father in Heaven that we voted for in our pre-earth existence.
We usually think of America as the “melting pot” of the world, and it has been that for these past two hundred years or so. Actually, the British Isles has been a “melting pot” from ancient times, attracting people from all over the world. Traces of various ancient settlements have been discovered from archaeological excavations relating to different early cultures, many dating centuries before Christ. Some historians suggest that there may have been settlements by early Hebrews from the Middle East anytime from 100 to 300 years after the “great flood”.
IBERIANS AND CELTS
There are no written records of the Celtic people but only through archaeological excavations have scientists been able to develop hypothesis of their heritage. Evidently early peoples gradually began to leave the shores of the Mediterranean, immigrating into Central Europe with some traveling as far as Iberia (Spain and Portugal) to become known as “the Iberians.” Some went to what is now France and became the Bretons. And others remained in central Europe, which became the home of the Celts. Other possible forebears were “The Battle Axe People, ”known because of the battle axe they used, and those known as “the Beaker People” because they laid beakers in the tombs of their dead.
During these early periods of time there was a lack of cultural and social equilibrium, which was the basis for the Celts to become a distinctively European people rather than an Oriental civilization. Although Europe was influenced by what was happening in the Middle East to some degree, it did not become a “mere colony of the higher civilizations” found there. The Europeans adopted some of their ideas and techniques such as making pottery, which was distinctly different, and using polished stone tools. But the building of houses and farm buildings had to be adapted to their particular climate and needs.
By 500 B.C. the Celts had emerged as a recognizable people in Central Europe, primarily in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland and the neighboring areas of southern Germany. Of course the area was open to the movement of various peoples gaining many ideas from various areas but there was a distinct development of learning and of the arts that was developed within the Celtic culture. Cultivation of wheat and other plants had been developed in the Middle East from the time of the great flood and this was one of the great achievements of the early Europeans who adopted what they had learned while living in the Middle East. Instead of being primarily collectors, hunters and fishermen, the way of life gradually changed to farming and domesticating their animals. However, changes in climate, over use of the soil and an increase in population caused the people to begin spreading throughout the land.
The first known settlers came to Britain somewhere between 1500 and 500 B.C., having to brave the sometimes wild waters of the channel. One of the first groups of people emigrated from “Iberia” during the days of Celtic Europe. They were a short, dark complexioned people and were known for their valor and tenacity, having withstood Roman occupation in Iberia for two centuries. Earlier, they had resisted the Celts in Iberia who had emerged as a distinct people, with the roots of both peoples probably starting in the Middle East.
Sometime around 500 B. C., the tall, light-haired Celts began to invade the island, coming from areas along the continental coast of Europe, ranging from Denmark to northern Italy. Most of the Iberians who survived the bloody assaults of these invaders, fled to the Scottish highlands and the mountains of northern Wales where some of their descendants can be found today. While there was intermingling of the various groups of people, particularly during the occupation of Rome, some pockets of Iberians were able to maintain an almost pure race of people.
While Rome was threatening the Celts in Europe, those who now lived on the island were in the process of developing their own culture from what they had learned in Europe. The land was covered with dense forests, but because they relied on farming and cattle for their livelihood, the forests were cleared and the wood used extensively in their buildings. Salt was discovered in Cornwall and maybe in other areas. However, we know that many of the men were engaged in mining the mineral as had been done in ancient times in parts of Europe. Also, with the development of iron working, for which the Celts were the inventors, iron swords were developed and much sturdier tools were made that helped the workers clear the land more efficiently, such as the simple plow and a type of harvester on wheels. They also pioneered the use of fertilizer and crop rotation.
Rich in oral tradition, ancient Celts rarely used a written language, and the details of everyday life must be pieced together from legends, archeological findings, and the writings of Irish Monks and of the ancient Greeks and Romans. There is some problem with the writings of the Romans and the Greeks as they were based on their own experiences and they looked on these people as savages. Actually, through excavations of their art, metal work and wearing apparel, these people did not appear to fit this category but were, in their own way, a dignified people, having an intellect worthy of further study.
The religion of the Celts was paganistic, but many of their beliefs had a strong Christian element for they believed that the soul did not die. They had a strong belief in an after-life and because they believed that they would pass from their body to another body in the next life, they had little fear of death. If they were a mixture of Hebrews and Celts, or if the Celts were descended from Hebrews, then it is easy to see how their religious beliefs could be a combination of paganistic and Christian beliefs.
Dr. Hansen, in his book “Whence Come They?”, quotes several ancient sources saying that traditionally it is thought that within three years after the crucifixion of the Savior, Joseph left Jerusalem with eleven others because of the persecutions by the Jews. He was probably a marked man, demonstrating his loyalty to Jesus by asking for permission to bury the Savior following his crucifixion. He may have also brought with him to Glastonbury, an ancient town near the tin mines in Somerset, Mary, the mother of Jesus and Joseph’s daughter Anna, cousin to Mary. Also, by tradition, Anna is believed to have married into the royal line from which the House of Tudor is descended.
Tradition has it that Jesus, during the years between the ages of twelve and thirty, for which the Bible has no information, occasionally traveled to Cornwall with his uncle, where a peaceful atmosphere prevailed, different from that found in the Holy Land. This may have been in Cornwall and to Glastonbury in Somerset where the traditions seem to be the strongest. The school children of England and Australia where the majority of residents are of English extraction, have sung a song for decades about the possibility of Jesus walking on English soil. The poem “Jerusalem” by William Blake was put to music and used as a hymn:
GLASTONBURY / AVALON
After his successful conquest of Gaul, Julius caesar made two armed reconnaissances of south-eastern Briton in 55 and 54 B. C. and attempted to establish a foothold there. But he was plagued by weather conditions that caused him a separation from his Calvary. In the second attempt, weather again played a negative role in his attempt to conquer the Britons. In the meantime, they were busy with gorilla warfare, making it difficult for the Romans to get needed supplies, and were using chariots against his soldiers which the Romans were unprepared to fight against. Although they were more successful on the second attempt, winter was approaching and they were unprepared to stay, so they retreated across the channel, intending to return the following year. But problems in Gaul kept them from returning then.
Political events in the Roman world after Caesar’s assassination prevented any further plans for conquest until the following century, and it was not until 43 A. D., in the reign of Claudius, that Briton was invaded again. The country was divided into many separate kingdoms, and because there was no political unity among the various tribes, and they were lacking leadership and comparable war experience, the Romans were able to attack each tribe separately and take over most of England into parts of southern Scotland. The Romans could be very cruel, killing hoards of people that included women and children and taking many prisoners, sending them to Rome as slaves. It was interesting that they looked down on these Britons as savages when their own actions tended to be a bit on that side.
CHRISTIANITY IN BRITON
Rome took credit for bringing Christianity to Briton, and the fact remains that the early Church in Rome was the only Christian Church on the earth following the period of time that the Apostles of the Lord and early Church leaders were persecuted and killed. The church of Christ was no longer the Church that Christ had organized. There was truly a “falling away” as the Apostle Paul had predicted. We do not have a complete record of their travels, but we know that most of the early Apostles of the Savior found their way into different parts of the world, teaching the Gospel. But it would eventually be corrupted with a mixture of pagan and Christian beliefs.
By 500 A.D., paganism was still widespread throughout Briton and Pope Gregory decided to send Augustine, who was in charge of the Pope’s own monastery in Rome, to England to do missionary work and convert the Anglo-Saxons. Augustine, was quite successful, with ten thousand Englishmen being baptized in 597 A. D. The king [Ethelbert], himself, was one of the first converts. Gradually, the leaders of the various kingdoms were converted as missionary work spread throughout Briton.
NORSEMEN / DANES
The Vikings from Norway expanded their conquest from Scotland and began raiding along the east and west coasts of England and eventually sailing up the Thames River to London. They burned and pillaged the monasteries and Churches, returning home with their loot. Still, many of them settled there and intermarried within the population, establishing themselves in various cities and villages.
In 865, the Danes began attacking the eastern coast of Briton with the objective of conquering the island permanently. They were successful in their advances and were able to claim all but Wessex. It became known as “Danelau” and by 899, one half of England was under Dane rule. Lincolnshire, being on the eastern coast of England, where our earliest Botts were found, was heavily populated by the Danes. But Christianity had finally become strong enough that the heathen Danes could not destroy what the Christians had achieved.
On a visit to the city of York a few years back, I was amazed to see how their influence is still prominent, from street names to many other facets of life in that city, for it is a strong mixture of Danish and English culture. This influence could have been strengthened throughout the rest of England, had it not been for Alfred, King of Wessex. Because of his great military expertise and the leadership he gave to the cause, England could have very easily become part of Denmark.
ALFRED THE GREAT
Therefore, some mention has to be made of “Alfred the Great”, the only king of England with that title. Of Saxon birth, he was born in 849 in the southern lowlands in Berkshire, which was now the Saxon homeland. He was king of Wessex when the land was divided, but his actions had an effect on the entire British Isles and its future.
Originally pagan, the Saxons had been Christian for two hundred years by the time Alfred was crowned king. He was raised in a religious atmosphere that stayed with him all his life. He vowed to devote half of his services, both day and night, and also half of all his wealth to God. He wrote, “While the creatures obey, their Creator sits on His throne and guides them all”, and “The universe dances in an ordered pattern, arranged by God”.
A LIGHT IN A TIME OF DARKNESS
It was his regret that he had not received an education when he was young, so he set goals for himself: to restore general education throughout Wessex; to learn Latin himself; and to translate or commission translations of certain books that he felt all men should know. It was remarkable that a Saxon leader living in what we consider the “Dark Ages” should have such goals. It was even more remarkable that he was able to realize his goals to a very large extent.
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR
Land ownership was a key factor which deprived the natives of their land. William donated about half of the country to a few Norman families for services rendered, kept about a fifth for himself and granted the rest to the Church. The Domesday Book was compiled for him so he knew about every piece of land in England and how much it was worth. The Tower of London was built during his reign, not only for protection from the people, but to keep the natives under control. Many Saxon villages were torn down, driving the people from their homes so that the Norman Barons could rule more effectively. Some of this land was cleared to create large hunting reserves for the so-called royalty.
CRUEL / PEACEKEEPER
The Normans used England as a home-base to battle Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Robert de Brus, the Heroic warrior king of Scotland, was also Norman. Their feudalism was a discrimination of race, language and background. In other words, the Normans were snobs, and today, some of England’s greatest families are essentially Normans who have passed on their feudal systems of the past. Eventually, because of intermarriage, the Normans disappeared as a distinct group. Jenner calls it “the greatest disappearing act of all times”. They ruled until 1154.
Starting with John Wychiffe in the 1300s, some very brave men began to come forth, having the courage to oppose the Roman Catholic Church in some of their teachings. By that time, this was the only Christian church on the earth, and it had become completely entrenched for so many centuries that successful opposition to it was almost impossible. The common man did not have the Bible to read for himself so he was dependent on what the Church was teaching.
Others such as John Huss, born in 1369 in Bavaria, protested what was being taught and forced on people through the church and was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1413. Many other brave souls would meet the same fate in the ensuing years, but the momentum had started and would continue until freedom of Religion would eventually lighten a darkened world.
Henry VIII never realized that he was playing an important role in the “Great Reformation” as well as in the preparation for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1830. He left the Roman Catholic Church because they would not allow him to divorce his wives when they did not produce the son that was destined to be his heir. By taking this step, he no longer recognized their authority and proceeded to start the Church of England, becoming its head and starting a tradition that is still in effect today. In 1588, as head of the Church of England, he required his ministers to keep a register of all the births, marriages and burials that took place in each parish. As a result, we have been able to trace our families way back and have the temple ordinances performed for them. Not all registers are still in existence since 1588, but many of them are, and it is fortunate that these valuable records are available for us to use in our searches today.
The new United States of America patterned its laws after those established in Great Britain, and special men were raised up by God to write the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to prepare the way for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the first time since the meridian of time, the heavens were once again opened and under divine direction of the resurrected Savior, His church was once again established on the earth, having been organized April 6, 1830. All the keys of heaven were eventually restored through a living prophet, Joseph Smith, with the authority to act in His name.
PROPHECY OF A PROPHET
One of their advantages, they shared language, culture, and heritage with these missionaries from America. Freedom of religion had become a strong tradition in Britain and there was not the strong reliance upon clergy as in Europe at that time. The people loved to read the Bible which was the same King James version being used by the missionaries. The laws also gave them the same rights as any other ministers preaching there.
With the seventeenth century Civil War, headed by Oliver Cromwell, thousands of people were displaced. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain, changing the living conditions and the social standing of the lower classes, which left them feeling they had been abandoned by their ministers. Many people were tired of their way of life and were seeking spiritual and temporal satisfaction and support in their lives. It also brought families from the outlaying areas causing them to break with traditions that might ha e inhibited their acceptance of the gospel. More importantly, it put people in the right places at the right time for the missionaries to find those who would accept the gospel.
FAITH VS PERSECUTION
BRIGHAM YOUNG / HEBER C. KIMBALL
About six months later, Brigham and Heber were called to start their mission to Great Britain. Both men were so ill that they had to be helped into their wagon. Al of the Kimball family were ill and bedridden except for their four year old boy who could only carry water to the sick. As they drove off, Heber said he felt that “my very inmost parts would melt within me at leaving my family in such a condition, as it were almost in the arms of death.” But the family was blessed and all of the sick recovered. They left with $13.50 in donations, yet they spent more than $87 on coach fares. They had no idea how the additional money had gotten into the trunk except they knew it was through the help of the Lord.
PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH
These British converts brought spirituality, enthusiasm, and leadership to the Church during this critical period in church history. By 1850 there were over thirty thousand members in Great Britain, and as their emigration to the United States increased during the pioneer period, so did their impact on the Church.
HERITAGE OF MARGARET ALLAN FYFE
SCOTLAND, LAND OF THE PICTS
It is about the size of Belgium and the Netherlands together with about one-fifth of theirpopulation, with most of the people living in the lower industrial areas and cities. It is divided broadly into Highlands, a group of mountains, moors, ravines and fast moving streams; and Lowlands, which are not really low but a series of smooth hills, pastures intersected by river valleys and belts of manufacturing towns. It is a land of breath-taking beauty, of Lochs, snow covered peaks and rugged cliffs, which creates a feeling of independence, that so reflects the independent spirit of its people. Its glens and valleys are green, oh so green, with soft, gentle hills. One has a hard time picturing a history of violence and constant battles there throughout the ages in what appears to be such a peaceful setting.
They were a fierce people and had to be, to withstand the barbarian invasions of the Norsemen and the Danes in those northern island and in the highlands. This went on for centuries, not to mention the continual warfare going on with the various tribes in what is now England. Rome did their best to conquer Scotland but succeeded in only reaching into the southern part of the country. Scotsman, Nigel Tranter, in his book “The Story of Scotland”, maintains that the majority of modern day Scotsman are descended from the Picts (Celt-Iberians). However, there is an interesting mixture of bloodlines located in different areas of Scotland that also includes Rome, Norse, Saxon, Irish Celts, Jute, Angle, Norman which originally came from Scandinavia, and French. This is not too different from the varius peoples living in Briton.
The Romans never really conquered Scotland, except for a time when they held the southern part. Because of their fierce desire for independence it was a constant battle to keep some kind of control over the people and to keep those in the south from combining forces with those in the north to threaten the Roman soldiers. So they built a wall and named it after the Roman emperor, “Hadrian”. At one time there were 12,000 Roman soldiers stationed at the wall. It was 73 ½ miles long, eight to ten feet wide and twenty feet high with a nine foot ditch on the north side. There were turrets and small forts built in strategic places along the wall. When the Romans left, the wall was left to deteriorate, but parts of it are still visible today.
Attempts were made to establish a more northerly frontier by building another wall called the Antonine Wall after another emperor, however the troops were being stretched to the limit and eventually it became ineffective.
The clans, meaning family in Gaelic, were an important part of life in the Highlands. It was a protection for the family and powerful tool against the crown. The crown wanted the land when the laws of the clans maintained that specific lands belonged to the clans. Grammy’s ancestors were found mainly in the lowlands where the clans were not prevalent. However, it is hard to determine if some of the families might have been part of a clan. Some of the family names would indicate they were clan names. In any event, these family organizations had a great effect on all Scotland.
ACTIVITIES AND DRESS
Food was procured by hunting, fishing or cultivation. Beef, mutton venison, game and poultry were eaten. Cattle and sheep were raised or stolen while deer, goats and game birds could be hunted on the high grounds. Milk, cheese and butter were at hand, oatmeal and barley-meal were prepared in various ways. Honey, too, was in use. Fish was not in such common use in inland districts, although salmon was plentiful. The surplus fish in districts bordering the sea exported the surplus to the Lowlands and foreign countries. Herbs and wild fruits were pleasant varieties to their diet, while whiskey, home-brewed beer ane exported foreign wines were the main part of their beverages.
An extensive history is impossible to cover, for that is not the purpose of this history. I mainly want to show some of the events that had a very definite effect on Scotland and the lives of our ancestors. Therefore, we jump very quickly to 1707 when Scotland became part of the British kingdom. The Highlanders continued to protest and uprisings took place in 1715, 1719, and 1745 for the last time. Following this last uprising, the Clans were broken up and it became a serious crime to wear the kilt, to own weapons or to even play the bag pipe. The chieftains lost their power and became landowners, raising sheep instead of crops because it was more profitable for them. Less man-power was needed and thousands of highlanders had to leave the glens, some to work in towns and others to migrate to other lands.
COURAGE OF THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE
Andrew Fisher, in the preface to his book “A Traveler’s History of Scotland” said: “A capacity to resist and survive is central to Scotland’s History … The Norsemen were contained and defeated. Even the English with their vastly superior numbers and their capacity for patient organization and stagecraft, achieved no permanent conquest and subjugation. The act of Union did not mark Scotland’s unconditional surrender to Anglo-Saxon supremacy, but rather admitted the Scottish people to a “partnership in an expanding global enterprise.”
A monk by the name of St. Ninian first introduced Christianity into southern Scotland in Galloway in about A.D. 396, but one of the truly great Christians in Scotland and a man who needs to be mentioned, was Columba, a man of royal background, born in 521 in Ireland. His grandfather, King of Donegal had been converted and there is little doubt that he received a Christian education. Columba grew into a tall, handsome, fair-haired and well built, man. He was a notable horseman, fond of sports and had a fine singing voice, but was also known to have a hot temper. He rejected a princely life to become a monk. He still moved in Irish aristocracy, but sought to put Christian principles into action. He was a tireless missionary, founding many monasteries in Ireland. Then he became involved in a war between Christians and Pagans and many were killed. This troubled him to the extent that he left Ireland and went to Scotland and settled in Iona in the northern part of the land. Here he continued his great work building monasteries and churches in Scotland. He converted the high king of the Picts, which was a major victory for Christianity.
FOLLOWER OF JESUS
STATE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
But the efforts of the missionaries were not quite as successful in Scotland as in England. Traditions of the Church of Scotland and the differences of beliefs contributed to some of the persecution and disorder that accompanied the proselytizing efforts. Missionaries were stoned in Kilpatrick and mobbed in Busby and Joseph Smith’s effigy was burned at the tollbooth in Clackmannan in 1842. No doubt, Grammy’s family were well aware of this event.
Between 1852 and 1856 more than 1,000 saints emigrated to America, and by the end of the century 5,000 Scots had gathered to Zion. In all, a total of 9,000 people came from Scotland to complete the gathering of the converts from Scotland. Their strength was needed at that time to help build the young church in Utah. But today, they are encouraged to stay in their own countries and build up the church there.
In May of 1995, Dick and I, along with our son, Brian and grandson, Eric, visited Scotland, later traveling into England. We flew into Glasgow, rented a car and headed for Clackmannan. I had always wanted to visit Grammy’s place of birth, after spending a lot of time researching in the records until I felt like I really knew the area and some of its people. Through years of studying the maps and searching in the records, I felt like I personally knew all the villages and towns in the area, but I wanted to see it in its colorful setting. The weather was beautiful the day we landed and we began our drive to Clackmannan, which was on the way to Edinburgh where we would spend the night. We were in the lowlands of central Scotland and were surrounded by low rolling hills that were very green and beautiful. I could not take my eyes off the scenery and wanted so much to remember everything I was seeing. There were some very pretty yellow shrubs lining the road as we traveled that added a lot to the scenery and I was curious as to what it was. Later, at the hotel, I asked one of the clerks about it and I was disappointed to learn that they were “nothing but weeds and grew far too profusely to suit them”.
Since it was on the way, we took time to stop and visit the famous Sterling Castle, where so much Scottish history took place. Previously, I had been serving a Family History part-time mission and was assigned to the Medieval Department and was working with Scottish Royalty. I was completely enraptured by the history I found there, and it all came to life for me. The castle was fascinating as we wandered through the rooms and out on the walkways around the castle.
It sits high up above the valley where most castles are built and it was breathtaking to look out over the land below, which we could see for miles. An old church was situated below and we took time to visit its cemetery with all its old tombstones in place. Many times I wished I had ben better prepared with all the necessary records so I could look for graves of ancestors from this area. But many of them are no longer readable, most likely the ones in which I would be interested. It was also a museum so we could see a lot of displays relating to Scottish history and all the very important events, including battles that occurred here. Many of our ancestors lived very close to this castle, which made it very special to me.
We continued our journey towards Clackmannan, but stopped at the village of Alloa on the way. Many of our ancestors, particularly the Patersons, lived here and it is quite close to Clackmannan. A charter was granted by King Robert I in 1215, calling it ALWAY, sometimes AULWAY or ALOWAY. The Celts called it ALLAOIGH anciently. The name signifies “water” or “way to the water”. There are no mountains or high hills in the vicinity of the parish, however the lofty Ochils mountain range can be seen in the distance. It is near the Firth of Forth and the Devon River flows close by. People of that day considered it a healthy place to live. It really is a beautiful valley and borders Clackmannan Parish.
We stopped in Alloa and inspected their oldest Church and cemetery, hopeful I would find some information I was looking for. Unfortunately many of the tombstones were unreadable. People there suggested we visit the public library as they had copy of the cemetery records, which we did. But it was disappointing to find that the copy was made years too late and it did not help me. The village was so picturesque and I would love to visit it again. I was disappointed that I did not have my camera with me and had left it in the car.
I got very excited as we drove along the road and saw a sign that said “Clackmannan”. The land in this part of the central lowlands is fertile and used for agriculture purposes. It seemed very isolated with a lot of green fields surrounding it. The very road that took us into the village was a quiet street called “Riccarton”, not the hamlet that I thought it would be. There were no houses on the other side of the road where Grammy was born but just around the corner we unexpectedly found ourselves in Clackmannan proper.
FYFE ROW HOUSES
I knew which row house was William and Elizabeth Fyfe’s from the census records. William’s parents were living in the one next door. In a way, I was disappointed because the row houses have been restored since Keola and Virginia were there. I think the picture they took is more meaningful to me, although I imagine it was still not the same as when they lived there. While we were taking pictures, the man and his son living there came out to find out who we were. They were very nice to us and were willing to have their pictures taken in front of the house.
By the time we went up and around the corner into town, it was raining very hard and only a school crossing guard in a yellow slicker was in the street. Two lonesome looking Mormon missionaries came up to the car and talked to us for a few moments, and then we left. How I wish we had taken time to look around a little more, even if it was raining hard. Now I know that I must go back agin soon and really see it and maybe find some descendants of William’s brothers that may still live in the area. We have records of the families of two of his older brothers, Andrew and Thomas Fyfe.
Few, if any, of Grammy’s ancestors were of Highland background, and most of them have been traced back to the late 1500s and 1600s in the centaral area of Scotland. There are several surnames of ancestors that might indicate certain families could have come from the Highlands for various reasons, but research has not given us any further information on the whys and wherefores.
Robert Fyfe, her grandfather, was born in Culross, a very ancient town in Perthshire, yet situated fairly close to Clackmannan. In this century it has been restored to its earlier charm and today it is the tourist attraction of a 16th century burgh. It was created as a royal burgh in 1588 and is famous for the Culross Palace. In early times mining was an important industry and King James VI visited the mines there. There are a number of other ancestors that came from this area. In the only picture I have seen of this village which I have included in this history, it appears to be surrounded by water. In reality, it is situated on the Firth of Forth.
Robert’s wife, Janet Tulloch, was the daughter of a farm labourer, born in Dunfermline in the kingdom of Fife. It is near Culross and was once the ancient capital of Scotland and home of royalty, which extended from the eleventh to the seventeenth century. It was probably begun in about 1065 and it was given a Celtic name, with “Dun” signifying a fortified place and “ferme” meaning bent or crooked, referring to a sharp bend taken by the burn or stream at the foot of Malcom’s Tower and “lynne”, a cascade or pool which is to be found at the waterfall there. As the stream orriver made its way to the Firth, it would often flood the rich low-lying fields of Pittencrieff where some of Janet’s family lived.
It is surrounded on three sides by coalfields, which used to yield a rich harvest during the 18th and 19th centuries. Janet and her brothers and sisters were all born in and around the colleries of Pittencrieff, Urquhart and Baldridge. It was the home of Andrew Carnegie, which he called the “Auld Gray toun”. All we had time for was to drive through the town. Next time I visit Scotland, I intend to look it over more closely.
THE FYFE CHILDREN
Robert and Janet had eight children, with William, Grammy’s father, being the youngest. Andrew was the eldest followed by Thomas, then Anne and George. Then came James, Mary and Robert. They raised their family in Clackmannan, for the most part, and as mentioned earlier, we have a good record of his two older brothers, Andrew and Thomas, but know little about the rest of the family.
By the time Grammy was born, her Grandfather and Grandmother Fyfe were living alone next door, their family all grown and living away from them. Living so close, Grammy must have been a joy to them throughout the almost eight years of her life, until she left for the United States. Within a matter of weeks from the time of their departure, her Grandmother Fyfe died of cancer 9 Aug 1877. She must have been ill for some time before their departure and the departing family must have known she would not live long. Robert Fyfe died two years later on 12 Apr 1879, probably of a stroke.
MARRIAGE OF WILLIAM FYFE AND ELIZABETH HUNTER
The Hunters were living in what I think was a hamlet in Clackmannan. It had the unusual name of “Pottery”. This is recorded both in the census record of 1861 and at the time of the marriage of William and Elizabeth, which occurred on August 14, 1868.
The Hunters had heard the gospel and Elizabeth’s parents were converted and joined the LDS Church not too many years after the first missionaries set foot in Scotland. We have no record of how this all came to be, but Elizabeth’s father, John, joined in 1847 and his wife Margaret, the following year. Elizabeth was already a member at her marriage, having been baptized in 1856, however William was not. His parents never accepted this new religion and he and Elizabeth were married about eight years before he decided to join the church. John and Margaret Allan Hunter were very much committed to their new religion as was their entire family, who would eventually join with them and become a part of the gathering of the Saints in Utah.
The Hunters came from a family of miners or colliers way back in their ancestry. Life was certainly much better for them in the middle 1800s, but this was not always so. Although I am backtracking a little, I feel a need to explain something about the life of miners in the history of Scotland.
In the year 1606 the Scottish colliers were forced to become slaves by act of Parliament, thereby solving the man-power problem of the coal owners. This lasted until 1799, which covered a period of nearly two centuries. Children of colliers could be kept in life-long bondage. This act deprived the colliers of their customary holidays and they were forced to work a full six days every week with long, long hours. If a workman deserted his job, he was deemed a thief for he had stolen himself away from his master. Colliers were looked upon by the urban population as something less than human. They were herded together in miserable hovels in villages that were equally miserable and cheerless. In Fife, the dead collier was not allowed to lie in the same burial-ground as the free labourer. Yet the day would come that this rejected section of the working-class would become the corner-stone of the country’s economic prosperity. But they never forgot their bondage. To them there was a special meaning in Barbour’s “Bruce” as they heard it read in their villages, with its stirring lines:
Investigations of conditions in the mines in 1842 covering over 100 collieries in Sterlingshire, Fife, and Clackmannan showed that roughly a quarter of the workers employed (2256 out of 9090) were children under the age of thirteen. The further east the coal-field, the higher the proportion of child labour becomes. Children were committed to this work at the time they were christened in the parish church, and thus they were sold into slavery.
There were instances when children were taken into the mines to work as early as four years of age, but eight or nine was the usual age for employment to begin. This employment deteriorated the physical constitution of the children before their bodies were developed enough to handle it. In the thin-seam mines, it was particularly bad as the limbs could become crippled and the body distorted; and in general the muscular powers would give way. Many would become incapable of working in their late thirties and early forties, and death would come earlier than it should, soon after fifty, it they lived that long.
Wives and daughters were the coal-bearers, and were not paid at all as part of the collier’s family. They would climb down to the bottom, take the coal on their backs, weighing anywhere from 3/4 cwt to 3 cwt (hundred weight), then travel 200 yards under-ground and up a fifty-foot turnpike stair under this heavy load as many as thirty times a day. Again, we can be sure that many of Grammy’s ancestors were forced to work in the mines under these same conditions. Investigations into conditions of the workers in the mines give us some heart-rending stories:
1. Alexander Reid aged 12: I have worked two years at Sheriffhall, and go below at two or three in the morning, and hew til six at night; after that I fill and put the carts on the rails to pit-bottom. . .The pit I work in is very wet; we often work in slush over our shoe-tops. When first below I used to fall asleep; am kept awake now. It is most terrible work; I am wrought in a 30-inch seam, and am obliged to twist myself up to work on my side; this is my every-day work except Friday, when I go down at 12 at night, and come up at 12 at noon, etc.
2. Isobel Hogg, 53 years of age was a coal bearer: Been married 37 years; it was the practice to marry early, when the coals were all carried on women’s backs, men needed us; from the great sore labour false births are frequent and very dangerous. I have four daughters married, and all work below til they bear their bairns (babies) — one is very badly now from working while pregnant, which brought on a miscarriage from which she is not expected to recover.
3. Margaret Watson, 16 years of age, coal bearer; I was first taken below to carry coals when I was six years old, and have never been away from the work, except a few evenings in the summer months, when some of us go to Carlops, two miles over the moor, to learn the reading: reads a little. I was never taught to sew, much more shape a dress, yet I stitch up my pit clothes. We often have bad air below; had some a short time since, and lost brother by it; he sunk down, and I tried to draw him out, but the air stopped my breath, and I was forced to gang (leave).
Just prior to Grammy’s birth, life was not so difficult and perhaps a variety of foods were more plentiful. However, they still faced enough difficulties that caused many people to leave and come to America and Canada and even Australia. But for our people, the major reason was still religious.
The children of the labourer, and particularly the collier’s children were not so fortunate, with little time for study of any kind. They spent very long days in the mines from dawn to dusk, and maybe in the summer for a few weeks they could get some education. However, in spite of this, Scotland has been known for its good educational system, considering better than even that of England. I wonder how much schooling Grammy received before she left Scotland. I would think she had attended school by the time she was six which would have given her maybe two years of school. By the time she was old enough for school, conditions must have been somewhat better than in the eighteenth or seventeenth centuries.
I am sorry that I did not question Grammy more or listened more closely. She could have told us so much about her life in Scotland. Be that as it may, I am grateful that we have the little that has been written down by those family members mentioned earlier.
MARGARET ALLAN FIFE
Her birth, on the morning of the 20th of June 1869, her Grandfather Hunter’s fiftieth birthday, was a pretty important date for all of us. John Hunter and Margaret Allan’s first two children died young, making Elizabeth the oldest child in the family. This made Margaret the first grandchild for them. Although they were now “Mormons”, there was no branch of the church nearby at her birth, so she was christened in the Scottish church. This was also the case for her brother, Robert who was born 8 May 1871 and only lived a few months, dying 23 July 1871, and for her sister Janet born 3 Jan 1873.
Eventually a branch of the Church was organized in Clackmannan and it became a powerful force in the lives of the Hunter family. Elizabeth was also deeply committed to the Gospel and through her influence, it was to affect Grammy as well. Several of John Hunter’s children had joined a group of Mormons in 1876 and sailed to the United States, traveling on to Utah. One year later, the rest of the Hunter family decided it was time for them to follow. At this time the Church was encouraging the members to come to “Zion” and strengthen the Church there.
We know little about what took place prior to the journey, but they set sail on June 13, 1877 aboard the ship “Wyoming“. Margaret was seven at the time, but turned eight enroute across the ocean. The agent that took responsibility for the group of saints was Joseph F. Smith, a future prophet and President of the Church. They were listed in the immigration records (Family History film #0025693) as follows:
These were the members of the family that traveled together. I have not figured out why Margaret was listed with her grandparents and who two year old Mary might have been listed with William and Elizabeth. Also, Margaret was actually seven years old and Janet had just barely turned six in May of that year. From past experience I have found that the shipping records were not always accurate. During the trip, Grammy celebrated her eighth birthday but had to wait until they arrived in Utah before she could be baptized. They arrived in New York at Castle Gardens on June 23, 1877.
A new way of life was about to begin for the Hunters and the Fyfes. They spent the first few weeks with some of the family who had arrived about a year earlier and were living in Riverdale, “then known as Stringtown”. John and Margaret had a total of eleven children and all nine of the living children joined the church and came to Utah. After a time, two of their sons, Robert and Adam, took their families and settled in Scofield, Utah where they could work in the coal mines there. Unfortunately they were both in the great mine explosion of May 1, 1900 where about 250 miners were killed. They lost both their sons, one son-in-law, Frank Strang, five grandsons and three nephews.
MOVE TO SALT LAKE
William was able to obtain work in a blacksmith shop in Salt Lake City and move his family there soon after their arrival. But it was only for about one year because Elizabeth’s health had deteriorated to the point that they felt it was best for them to return to the Ogden area. William’s parents had tried to persuade them to stay in Scotland because her health was not good, but her desire to come to Utah was too strong for her to be dissuaded. She felt that if she wee to die, she wanted to be buried in Zion. There is no doubt, it was very hard for the Fyfe’s to lose this little granddaughter who had lived next door to them all her life and was so much a part of their lives, knowing they would never see this part of their family again.
Grammy was given a great deal of responsibility for her younger sister, Jennie, and worked hard, ping her mother with the daily chores. She soon learned her way around Salt Lake City, doing most of the family’s shopping. She attended her church meetings regularly, always listening intently so she could go home and repeat each sermon to her mother. During the time the family lived in Salt Lake City, their neighborhood was raided by Indians. It happened one night while William was away and Elizabeth was so frightened that she hustled the girls over to a friend’s house where they all hid under a bed.
On December 17, 1878, the Fyfe’s were received into the Ogden 2nd Ward following their move to Ogden. William was given the opportunity to run a blacksmith shop, following the death of the owner, John Nicholas. They found a home on twenty-fifth street and Margaret was able to attend school in a two-story adobe building located in Grant Avenue just a short distance away. She attended Primary at the old city hall which would have been close to their residence. Grammy remembered well how Eliza R. Snow, one of the early leaders in Primary and an early General Relief Society president, visited her Primary and showed them the watch that had belonged to the Prophet Joseph Smith that had been shattered at the time of his death.
Grammy’s mother, not only suffered from ill health, but at some point in her life, she lost her sight and Grammy talked often of how she would sit and read to her mother. She, too, would suffer a similar affliction before her death. Sadly, on October 20, 1879, her mother, Elizabeth, passed away, leaving two young daughters, ages ten and eight.
William sent Grammy to live with her grandparents in Riverdale. Whether Jennie went with her or not, I do not know. At any rate, this was a very difficult time for her. Not only did she miss her mother, but it was necessary to attend a new school three miles away. Her only mode of transportation was her feet, and there were no houses along that three mile walk. I often drive from Riverdale into Ogden and wonder what kind of road or path she had to travel. Bad weather would prevent her from attending school, especially that winter of 1879. Grammy told me once of what might have been that first Christmas spent with the Hunters in which there were no gifts for her, while there were gifts for the other children. How sad she must have felt! I tried to find out where they lived in Riverdale but no one seems to know. I learned where Grammy’s Uncle John Hunter lived and I have been given a picture of the home. Probably they were in this house because John and Margaret Hunter eventually moved to Kanesville, while their son John and his family remained in Riverdale. Margaret died there on 11 Dec 1900.
Time-wise, she was probably with them for not much more than a year as her father married Ann Affleck Nicholas in about 1880 or early in 1881. She was the widow of the former owner of the blacksmith shop William was operating. Margaret soon returned to Ogden so she could attend school more regularly. From what I have been told, Grammy liked Annie as she was treated well by her, apparently much better than her own father had treated her.
She was able to attend the new Central School, and among her teachers were Professor Moench and his wife, Delecta Hill Moench. Her last and very favorite teacher was Richard Horn. She attended school until she was fifteen, which would have been until 1885. Knowing Grammy’s love of learning, she must have been very appreciative for what education she could receive.
Annie and her second husband John, had six children and she had one son by her first husband, Joseph Tite, whom she married in England. They would have ranged in ages from twelve to three, at the time of her marriage to William Fyfe, making it a rather large family, including Jennie and Margaret. Grammy was one year younger than the oldest boy, John.
William and Annie started their own family, giving birth to a little girl on Dec 6, 1881 whom they named Anne. Margaret became very fond of this little girl and was a lot of help to Annie. This little girl was followed by a boy named William, born Feb. 1, 1885, but she never really recovered fromt eh effects of his birth and remained very ill until her death, 20 Feb 1885. The responsibilities placed on Grammy must have been very demanding at such a young age. Shortly before her death, Annie asked Margaret to care for her young children. Margaret struggled to do what she could for the family, but little William, was very frail and died 20 Mar 1885, leaving Margaret to mourn not only for her step-mother but for this new baby as well. The child, Anne, lived until she was about six and then, sadly, she, too, passed away. Grammy continued to stay in the Nicholas household doing housework for $1.25 per week until the time of her marriage. She also spent time working in various homes supporting herself. Life had not been easy for her but as always, adversity is a character builder, which prepared her to go on and make the most of her opportunities without complaint.
AN IMPORTANT BIRTHDAY PARTY
It was in the spring of 1886, as she was turning seventeen that she met a young man at his sister’s birthday party. She had become friends with Mary Ann Bott, more commonly known as “Polly”, who happened to have a brother by the name of Joe. It would be fun to learn more about their courtship, but, again, no one thought to ask or write it down. From the picture taken about the time they were married, I see them as a very attractive couple and interesting to see them together, with Joe standing six fee two and Margaret only four feet eleven. On November 25, 1886, they were married by Professor Lewis W. Shirtliff. The marriage was witnessed by Mrs. Shirtliff and Joe Hall, brother-in-law of Joseph Barfoot Bott.
But before we go any further in their life together, we should learn something about Papa’s heritage. Much history has already been covered, but because Papa’s ancestry comes from London and the surrounding area as well as way up in Lincolnshire, this is where we will start.
HERITAGE OF JOSEPH BARFOOT BOTT
THE BOTTS OF LINCOLNSHIRE
The earliest Bott ancestor that we have been able to identify is John Bott of Blankney in Lincolnshire, born about 1737. We have been unable to extend our Bott line back any further than him and his immediate family because we cannot identify his christening in Lincolnshire or in the surrounding counties. The name of John Bott is just too common. However, Marilyn [sister of Annette Bott Richards] has been able to extend his wife’s Brown line.
We are not sure of the derivation of the name BOTT as there are several theories. The Historical Research Center says that it is a nickname derived from a person or physical characteristic of the original bearer. It could be from the medieval pet-names of “Bot”, a French word meaning toad, brought to England by the Normans, and “Butt”, an old English word generally meaning short stature. With the mingling of so many peoples, it could come from the Anglo-Saxons or even the Danes who populated the areas in and around Lincolnshire. It has also been suggested that it could be of German lineage.
According to the research of one of John Henry Bott’s sons, there is a parish in Lincolnshire called Bottesford and some believe the name may have come from St. Botolphford, a Saxon Saint for which a monastery is named or a contraction of Botolph or Bot’stown, also in Lincolnshire. In any event, the name “Bott” has been around a long time in England, even as early as 900 A. D.
Not far from Blankney is a large canal or drain called the “Car dyke” or Caer-dyke, meaning the ditch of the city. It was sixty feet wide and extended forty miles from the river Welland to the river Witham near Lincoln, with a broad flat bank on either side. It catches all the run-off from the surrounding hills, which would otherwise inundate the land. It was maintained until the Romans left but was neglected following their departure.(59)
The roads built by the Romans in Britain was one of their great contributions to the island, performed at great expanse and with immense labor. Generally they followed a straight line from one place to another. Lincolnshire has three of the seven principle roads constructed by them in England. One of them was called “Ermin-Street” and passed from Sleaford through Dorrington, Digby and Blankney. The Botts would have been well aware of this road.(60) During the Saxon reign, Lincolnshire was part of the kingdom of Mercia.
Lincolnshire is a maritime county on the east coast of England where the main occupations of its inhabitants are agriculture and fishing. Because the area where our Botts lived is located inland and not far from the city of Lincoln, I would assume that John Bott and most of his family were connected with farming. As we drove through Lincoln county, I was anxious to see Blankney and get a feeling for the land on which these people lived. As we left the city of Lincoln it seemed like we traveled for hours and saw a vast, never ending expanse of green fields with a few houses scattered here and there.
When we arrived in Blankney I was disappointed to see that all the cottages looked alike and I could tell they had been remodeled in recent years. Looking back, I feel certain we did not get into the main area of the village, but at the time, it looked like we were seeing all there was to see. So we took a few pictures and headed to our next destination. I wish I had looked a little closer and spent more time there. And had I been up on my genealogy, I would have taken time to see Digby and Dorrington where John’s wife’s family were from.
Papa’s father, Philip Wise Bott, had a notebook in which he had written some information about his Bott family. I never saw this notebook, but the information was transcribed by Mary D. Bott, a daughter-in-law of John Henry. According to her, he said that his grandfather had been born at “the Greanman. Blankney Parish, Lincolnheath – a half way house”, which I believe would be an inn. In all our research, we have never been able to establish this as fact. However, we know that there was a Greenman Inn in Blankney which was quite well-known in its day. In fact it was a place where the “country gentry” of the county assembled.
GREEN MAN INN
An interesting news article appeared in the “Illustrated London News”, March 12, 1870 referring to this inn. It refers to the Prince of Wales attending the meet of “the Burton Hounds” at the Green Man, Lincoln Heath. An extract from the article may shet a little light on life in Blankney:
…Next morning his Royal Highness went out with the Burton Hounds. The meet was at the famous old roadside tavern, the Green Man, eight miles from Lincoln on the way to Sleaford. This neighbourhood, formerly a tract of waste land known as Lincoln Heath, but now enclosed and cultivated, has been described in our journal which presented some years ago, an illustration of the old lighthouse known as “Dunstan Pillar”, erected by Lord Despencer about 1750 to guide the traveler over the pathless plain at night. The lantern was removed by the Marquis of Buckingham when the turnpike road was made, and was replaced by a statue of King George III.
The Green Man was, during the last century, a notable place of assembly for the country gentry. They used to hold their monthly festive meetings in the spacious clubroom built in 1740 by Mr. Thomas Chaplin of Blankney, and adorned with the busts of chief members of the club with all their names and arms which were modeled in alabaster and placed within oval panels on the wall. Among them were … and other members of jovial sport in their time. Their ordinary recreation consisted of a game at bowls before dinner, and a pipe of tobacco after dinner.
The Prince of Wales, unfortunately, had not a very pleasant day for his excursion to this place. There was a nasty drizzling rain, which obliged him and Mr. Chaplin with their party, to come in closed carriages, arriving at the Green Man about noon. But these foxhunters would not so much mind the weather when mounted on the horses there in waiting, and fairly afield with the hounds.
BOTT COUSIN LETTER
In answer to an advertisement in a local newspaper, a letter was received by Henry R. Bott of Brigham City in 1952 from a distant cousin still living close enough to Blankney to visit there. His name was not given to me, but he said in his letter, he was descended from Charles, a brother of Papa’s grandfather, Thomas Bott. Here are a few excerpts from his letter.
“Last summer just for old times sake I cycled to Blankney. The road is straight from Navenby two miles to Hare Park. The old house faced you, the day and night nursery and the schoolroom quarters, even the big dining room. From there you enter the woods probably 2 1/2 miles long. I found the gates locked so hid my cycle and walked through the park to the village of Blankney.
I visited the churchyard where Botts lie in rows, all names, to my annoyance, were obliterated except Elizabeth, my cousin, who died of diphtheria at school sometime in the late nineties.
I don’t know when the Green Man was changed to Hare Park. There is a rumor that the Green Man was on the opposite corner to Hare Park and was burnt down . . . We have been to see the present tenants of the so called Green Man Farm and find that it is really Hare Park Farm. The people there were very interested but unable to help, except to tell us that the Green Man Inn was situated on the opposite side of the road and was long ago demolished, the stone being used to build four farm cottages.
. . . I am curious why John Bott should settle at Blankney. In 1769 Lincoln Heath was an utterly desolate spot, and was avoided by travelers. I believe Blankney was near Dunston Pillar, which was a kind of “land lighthouse” to guide travelers. I should doubt if he had more than local custom at the Green Man and I should doubt whether he would come from far away to settle there. His origin must be in the district.”
According to Philip Wise Bott, his uncle, Charles Bott who was the grandfather of the letter writer, stayed on the Green Man Farm and died there. Thomas being the youngest child in the family of ten children, probably had no inheritance and chose to go elsewhere, meaning London.
THE STORY OF LONDON
London’s story is one of steady development through nearly 1900 years, starting with Celtic tribes who had settled there some centuries earlier. At the time the Romans invaded Britain, these tribes were already trading in tin, silver, gold, iron, corn, cattle and wool with Europe. Archeological studies suggested there was pre-Roman occupation just outside of London proper. It has been established that there was a sizeable Celtic village on the site of Heathrow Airport.
The Roman army first landed on the coast of Kent and reached the north bank of the Thames by a hastily built bridge of rafts. London began as Londinium when the Roman legions, realizing the strategic advantage of this site, bridged the Thames, sixty or so yards downstream from the present London Bridge. This was shortly after their victory in 43 A.D. East of this area it was too marshy for settlement. They thereby concentrated land and sea communications at that one point, and turned an unpromising looking site into the main British port for Continental traffic. During the 400 years of occupation, the Romans improved the port facilities, building quays (landing area) along the waterfront and river walls to hold back the flood waters. The Romans also established a series of roads that have remained as prominent roads in modern day England.
THE ROMAN WALL
When the barbarian Picts from Scotland the Celtic Scots from Ireland began their incursions into Britain, the Romans, built a defensive wall around Londinium from just east of the Walbrook in a wide arc reaching Ludgate in the west and then curving down to the river again, a distance of about 2 1/2 miles, building gates and towers at intervals. Outside the wall there was very little settlement except around the southern bridgehead, which is known as Southwark today. The wall was built by early 200 A.D., probably as a means of protection against any invaders. It was a formidable barrier by any standards, two miles of Kentish Ragstone rising to at least twenty feet. At the base it was eight feet across and the ditch on the outside was as deep as a man’s height, with earth piled up against the inside of the wall. Within the enclosed space 30,000 people eventually inhabited the town. For 1000 years it was the city’s boundary, and although the limits were gradually extended, the city retains the original shape of the wall. Today, little of Roman London remains, except for parts of the original wall and the ruins of a few buildings.
ANGLES AND SAXONS
In the fourth century, when the Angles and Saxons invaded the southeastern part of Britain, the wall was a protection to those living in Londinium. In 420 A.D. when Rome was attacked by the nomadic Mongols, the Romans were forced to leave Britain to defend their crumbling empire, thus ending their rule in Britain. This left the country with no centralized government and the foreign trade on which London had thrived disappeared, and for the next fifty years the city was almost deserted. Then for the next two hundred years very little is recorded about London. Native Britons and Anglo Saxons, who had moved to London, kept it alive as a trading center. Beginning in 450 A.D. the Angles and Saxons divided England into many separate kingdoms, with the Saxons finally gaining control over London. The city actually grew very little from the 400’s to the 1,000’s A.D.
CHRISTIANITY IN LONDON
Seeing the potential of the British Isles, Pope Gregory sent Augustine, a Roman abbot, and a band of his monks to proselyte, arriving in 597 A.D. It was on Ludgate Hill that the Anglo-Saxons built their first of numerous London churches after their conversion to Christianity. However, it was slow to take hold among the people. From archeological findings it appears that the converts were primarily the poorer people rather than the aristocrats. I believe our ancestors were more middle-class but closer to the poor than to the aristocrats, which I believe were stronger genetically and better people. For the most part, the people were not quite ready for Christianity and were still greatly influenced by the rulers and what they believed. It has been said that throughout London’s history the affairs of this life have generally claimed precedence over those of the next. When Londoners could spare some time from their businesses to take account of their souls they tended to bring the traditions of the market place to their spiritual transactions. So the rich and successful cashed in their worldly chips for a share of some paradisal commerce; and so London gained many churches and monasteries without ever becoming a religious center.
A religious center it may not have been, but the Lord had prepared the island for the restoration of the gospel by sending some of the children of Israel, those of the lost tribes, to populate the area. And although the dark ages and the apostasy brought about much barbarism, war and bloodshed, there were choice sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven who were drawn there as the ten tribes traveled north in preparation for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this last great dispensation. It is worth contemplating, the fact that the prophet Joseph Smith sent some of the first missionaries into England and the “field was white ready to harvest.” It would take many centuries for all of this to take place.
ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL
Getting back to the dark ages, it was the Saxon king Ethelbert of Kent, son of Alfred the Great, who, following his conversion, built the first Cathedral of St. Paul in the heart of the city over a Roman burial ground. Augustine thought he would be Bishop over all the sees in London, but politics got in the way and Ethelbert, being the most powerful man at the time, saw to it that he had the control over the churches of London. Many of these tiny parishes originated in late Saxon times during the ninth to the eleventh centuries and still exist as parishes today. However, for a time after the death of Ethelbert and his nephew, Sibert, who ruled East Saxon, Christianity was rejected and the citizens of London returned to the paganistic beliefs of their leaders. The big problem in the apostasy from Christianity for that period of time was there was no political power capable of supporting the missionary efforts of the church in London. Only through the generosity of rich merchants were these parishes maintained. As a result the name of a church became the name of its benefactor such as St. Mary Woolonoth in Lombard Street or St. Benet Algar (now the Welsh Church). The names were retained even though the original buildings have since disappeared.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was built of wood, as were all buildings before the great fire, and was the largest church in the city, being larger than today’s St Paul’s. But fire destroyed it in 1087 and the Normans rebuilt it. It was again destroyed in the “Great Fire” of 1666. Christopher Wren was the architect and builder of the present day cathedral. The city still has thirty-two churches, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, within the old area of the walled city, compared with about 100 churches that were standing in ancient times. This is about one for every three acres, in the twelfth century. Some of them, like St Lukes where Philip Wise Bott was christened, were destroyed during the Second World War. Some were rebuilt and others, such as St. Lukes, were left as a shell and not restored. My visit to St Lukes, while in London, was a special experience as I saw the damage sustained by the bombing during World War II. I am surprised it was not torn down and replaced by other usable buildings. Maybe it is a landmark to remind people of the cost of war.
For centuries before the Norman Conquest of 1066 London’s fortunes and misfortunes depended on Scandinavia. The popular image of Vikings is of savage and heathen warriors in horned helmets disembarking from their ships bent on rape, loot and devastation, very likely in that order. The sight of their battle-axes and other weapons in the Museum in London makes one grateful for humane inventions like the gun. The Vikings first appeared as early as 841 A.D. under which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records ‘a great slaughter in London’. (This record is the greatest source of English history from about 800 to 1066.) Twelve years later the Vikings took ‘London by storm’ and wintered in England for the first time. Doubtless they expected little resistance as they had encountered in the rest of Europe, but England was saved by the rare abilities of King Alfred of Wessex, the only English monarch to earn the title of “Great”. Nevertheless, London suffered many tribulations before Alfred’s victory was won. His recapture of London in 886 was a decisive moment in the town’s history: for the first time since Roman rule it was effectively integrated into an English kingdom. When the Danes hovered near in 896, Alfred had to send a force to ensure that the harvest could be safely gathered outside the walls.
In the 9th century the Danish and Norwegians sailed up the Thames once again to capture London in their drive to conquer the rest of the land but they were not successful, and for the next one hundred years London was left to prosper in peace, with the result that it hardly appears at all in contemporary records, which were almost exclusively concerned with warfare. In 984 A.D. an attack was repulsed and, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the invaders ‘suffered more harm and injury than they even thought any citizens could do to them’. The Danish Vikings who remained, gradually assimilated into the culture and religion of the people there and they became excellent traders, creating an even greater place for commerce.
At the end of the tenth century, there was another invasion of Danish Vikings and the Danish king, Canute succeeded in welding the four English provinces into one kingdom, over which he reigned as king. From the fusion of conflicting temperaments and ancestries, people sank their differences and began to identify themselves with the soil of England, and the beginnings of a national unity emerged, with London as the capital city. When he died, and none of his sons survived him, London once more showed its partiality for the old English monarchy by supporting Ethelred’s son Edward. Very little influence of the Vikings is found in London today, however, Greenwich and Woolwich are both Viking names. An interesting little story tells that apparently the Londoners bitterly resented their success with Anglo-Saxon women, based as it was on the ‘unmanly’ habit of combing their hair daily and bathing every Saturday.
In 1013 the City stoutly resisted another attack from the Vikings, that is, until king Ethelred fled the city, which caused its inhabitants to give up and submit to the conquerors. In 1014 King Olaf of Norway gained control of London from the Danes in dramatic fashion. Coming up the Thames, his fleet was stopped at the well-fortified bridge. Its defenders, from the well-fortified bridge, were busy bombarding the ships coming up the Thames. The resourceful Olaf covered his ships with a wickerwork to protect them, sailed boldly up to the bridge, attached ropes to the piles and rowed downstream. The bridge must have been fragile because it collapsed, leaving its defenders floundering in the water. The Nursery Rhyme, “London Bridges Falling Down” came about from a Norse saga of the Twelfth Century relating to this incident.
In 1209, the first stone London Bridge was built across the Thames, replacing a Roman wooden bridge that had to be replaced periodically, not only because of the Danes, but because major fires had destroyed the bridge ten times over a period of about seventy years. It was an unusual bridge in that housing and shops were built on the bridge itself, creating traffic jams. This meant that the piers not only supported the bridge but a “jumble” of workshops and houses. The arches impeded the flow of the water, which caused the bridge to act as a dam. This caused the water to flow underneath with a terrible roar, having a total breadth of one quarter of the width of the river. It was said by those who looked on this torrent of water that “it was made for wise men to go over and fools to go under.” The new stone bridge took thirty-three years to build and was replaced in 1831 and again in 1973. The old famous London Bridge ended up at Lake Havasau in Arizona.
In the mid 1000’s the Saxon king, Edward built a palace and rebuilt a church in what is now known as the City of Westminster. The Palace of Westminster served as a chief residence of England’s rulers until the 1520’s and eventually became Westminster Abbey. The City of London was divided into small administrative districts and by the twelfth century there were twenty-four, each ward being named after the alderman at the head of its administration. Some of the wards were stretching outside the City wall, and by 1222 the City had reached its present boundary, covering an approximate square mile. King Henry II established Westminster as his Court with London as the meeting place for his councils so it was necessary for the lords and peers of the government to maintain households in the City or its suburbs, close to the source of power and influence.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR
In 1336 disputes arose over trade problems with France over the woolen industry and the demand for wine over beer. Since England could not grow the grapes and had to export the wine from France and yet had control over the southern part of France, France decided to do something about it. This started the 100 Years War that lasted until 1552. It was during this war that Joan of Arc was captured by the English and burned at the stake for her role in the battles. While the previous kings had been concentrating on fighting with Scotland, they had held court in York, which left Westminster almost a ghost town. But due to this war the king wanted the government closer to him and in a more protected area, so Westminster, once again, played an important part in government and became a thriving city in and of itself.
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR
In 1066 William the Conqueror, a French nobleman of Viking descent, seized control of England and was crowned in Westminster Abbey. As William marched on London the English leaders knew that it had to deal with a man who would shrink from no atrocity to get his way so they submitted to him and with this surrender perished the Anglo-Saxon kingdom. The achievement of six centuries, during which scattered heathen groups had been forged by adversity and tribulations into one of Europe’s most sophisticated states, had been crushed in three months by the Norman juggernaut. He changed the Anglo-Saxon way of life where they owned land and lived in small villages to more of a dictatorship, however he did grant Londoners self-government as long as it served his interests, and was taken from the people and given to his friends and followers. William built the Tower of London for protection from the local residents and to impress the people with his authority and power. It did have a chapel within the tower for the family and it was called “the White Tower” then. It is interesting that in time the tower became a place to dread and many a member of the royal family were incarcerated there and eventually beheaded or eliminated in some other way. I am reminded of Lady Jane Grey who was beheaded at sixteen because she was a threat to the Crown.
When William arrived in England, he encouraged the Jews to come with him to act as his financiers. From the first, their main community was in London where their former quarters to the north of Cheapside are still called Old Jewry. Initially, under the conqueror and his sons, the Jews prospered, so that in the twelfth century they were among the few Londoners to possess stone houses. But their position was always insecure, because as mere ‘chattels of the king’ they possessed no legal rights and were entirely dependent on royal protection. Even in good times, they were harassed with tiresome regulations, such as every Jew that died anywhere in England had to be buried in a special cemetery outside Cripplegate, which was a mercenary way for raising money by taking tolls from them on the way to London to bury their dead. The Jews were also barred from farming, manufacture and trade, so that they could only survive by lending money at interest, there was much dissatisfaction because of the practice of charging high rates which the medieval Christian church condemned as the heinous sin of usury.
This meant that a king like Henry III could satisfy his financial needs by borrowing from the Jews and because of his religious scruples fail to pay the money back. Interestingly, the Crusades had helped to make anti-Semitism respectable. At the coronation of Richard I, the Great Crusading Hero, there had been a riot when some Jews, eager to placate the king with rich gifts, had dared to slip inside Westminster Abbey. The disturbance spread to the City, where the mob surrounded Jewry and set the thatched roofs ablaze. Thirty Jews died, either burnt in their houses or butchered as they fled them. Only three culprits were brought to justice who had accidentally burned a Christian house and one had taken advantage of the chaos and robbed a Christian
By 1215 Rome was demanding that all Jews should wear a badge, and as a loyal son of the church, Henry III insisted that it should be placed in an especially prominent position. But Henry was too religious and too poor to rest content with that, one of his favorite devices was to allege, with or without evidence, that the Jews had committed some horrific crime (the ritual murder of children was a favorite choice), torture a few into confession, hang them, and then levy a special fine on the entire Jewish community as non citizens. So down through history and even in medieval times were the Jews persecuted for the crucifixion of the Savior.
RISE OF CRAFTS
London was the richest town in the British Isles and it had an independent spirit not to be easily curbed. Guild members elected its first mayor in the 1190s and in 1215 King John had confirmed London’s rights to govern itself. However, on ten occasions, between 1239 and 1257, King Henry III, wanting more power and more control over taxes, set aside the mayor, who had become powerful, along with the aldermen and re-established direct royal rule, but every time he did this, he was compelled to restore their rights. Trade had always been a big part of the economy and craft organizations came into being. During the thirteenth century London’s share of exports increased from roughly a seventh to a third of the country’s mounting total. New men, like the fishmongers and the skinners who profited from the expanding Baltic trade, were making fortunes and seeking power, which gradually came to be expressed through craft associations. Through these organizations those involved in particular trades would congregate in specific parts of the city. The saddlers, for instance, were to be found in Foster Land, the goldsmiths at the east end of Cheapside, and the plumbers in Clement’s Lane. Sometimes a district’s ancient usage is still preserved in a name, such as Cannon Street, a Cockney shortening of Candlewick Street, once the home of the candlemakers and wax dealers. The old form, ‘candlewick’, survives as a ward name. Also Cordwainer ward recalls the cordwainers or shoe makers, who clustered around St. Mary-le-Bow while Vinty ward was the center for wine merchants. Skinners Lane actually still contains the premises of fur merchants just as it did 700 and more years ago.
As they began to seek rights to control their own affairs, fix their own prices and adjudicate their own disputes, the crafts naturally became involved in city politics. Equally the ruling elite, quite correctly sensing a threat, reacted to the new organizations with suspicion and hostility. But as the craft associations became stronger and at a time when their freedoms were in danger, they were able to take control from the aldermen with the help of baronial opposition to the king. Left to themselves, the solid and respectable tradesmen would probably never have dared to come out in open rebellion against the Crown.
The task of keeping law and order was a constant battle as it has always been. The larger cities seem to draw the unscrupulous and undesirables to their streets. It seems that violence became so common that the average person often ignored it as something to be expected. For instance, in 1325 a man was knifed at Milk Street; he staggered through Cheapside; rang the bell of St Peter’s church; collapsed and died with no apparent notice. Then no one interfered when three goldsmiths attacked a saddler in the middle of Cheapside; one gashed open the poor man’s head, another chopped off his leg with an axe, while the third used his staff to do further damage.
Clearly dangerous characters were in good supply, to be found lurking in shadowy areas of the city. Drunkenness was prevalent with over a thousand brew shops in the city and where the smallest size drink was apparently a quart. As in most large cities, there were areas that no one in their right mind would enter. Highwayman on the roads and thieves in the city caused much suffering. One of our own ancestors, Elizabeth Church, was killed by an intruder while she was working as a servant in a residence in Limehouse, a parish in the southeast part of London.
Violence was far from being the only crime. There were many petty trading frauds. In the fifteenth century a Londoner named William passed himself off as a policeman and arrested two baker women for selling short-weight loaves of bread. After receiving a severe warning they were grateful to be let off with a fine, which of course, he kept. Official justice tended to proceed on the principle that the punishment should be designed to fit the crime. Thus a cook who killed sixteen people by poisoning was boiled to death. Often though, the mayor’s judgments were relatively merciful, their aim being to inflict humiliation rather than torture. A vintner (seller of wine) who sold bad wine was made to drink it. A fraudulent doctor was paraded through the streets back to front on the horse, with his prescription hung about his neck with a whetstone to symbolize deceit, a urinal also being hung before him and another one on his back. A priest caught in sexual activities with a grocer’s wife was marched along the street with his breeches hanging about his knees and his clerical trappings solemnly carried behind. It was left to the church to burn a man on Tower hill in 1430 for eating meat on Fridays.
Another problem was the existence of several competing jurisdictions—the mayor’s, king’s and church’s, not to mention a multitude of legal rights and exemptions belonging to particular individuals—made the task of keeping the peace much more difficult. The rival courts were instinctively hostile to each other’s claims and the more they wrangled, the less likely was the conviction of the criminal. Any clerk could demand trial in a church court, with its lighter penalties for unheretical crimes such as murder, and any felon who could read stood a fair chance of being accepted as a clerk.
With various episodes of anarchy, the craft associations were deprived of their power and for five years the city lost the right of self-government. However, it was the same few families as of old who resumed control, but this situation did not last long when Edward I came into power. He deprived the City’s hereditary leadership of more than power; his economic policies sapped their wealth as well. Because Henry III had ruined the Jews through persecution the king could no longer depend on them for funds. Actually Edward was able, without undue sacrifice, to win the plaudits of the church by expelling the Jews from the country, a ban, which was to last nearly 400 years. The king then turned to foreign powers to raise money. The financial crisis compelled Edward to accept an elected mayor again, however, the standing of London’s great families had been completely undermined. Streets still carry their names but these families vanished into obscurity after the thirteenth century. This was when the craft leaders no longer needed to overthrow the City’s government for they were again becoming aldermen themselves.
That brings us to another class of people, the largest in London, that mass of destitution, misfortune and rascality which swung unpredictably between listless despair and violent destructiveness, to lose from chaos, where should they find hope save in anarchy, how could they profit but by plunder? Only occasional glimpses show what kind of conditions London’s disinherited endured. Thus a report of an almsgiving at Blackfriars in 1322 casually mentions that fifty people were trampled to death in the scramble to receive the bounty. Such a rabble was at once irresistible and uncontrollable
AGE OF BRUTALITY
In the 1770s and 1780s drink increased the problem of crime. No one was safe in the streets of London. Within the space of a few years the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor had all been robbed in broad daylight in the West End, while the Lord Mayor was held up at gun point. Highwaymen frequently attacked stage coaches in the middle of town and even fixed notices to the doors of the rich threatening death to any who ventured forth without money. Since there was no police force capable of dealing with the situation Londoners were obliged to defend themselves. One culprit tried to take Dr. Johnson’s handkerchief in Grosvner Square. The Doctor seized him by the collar, shook him violently and smacked him so hard in the face that the thief staggered off the pavement. The government’s way of dealing with crime was the death penalty for youths stealing sixpence. They were hung at Tyburn (where Marble Arch now stands). The amazing thing is that this was a form of entertainment and crowds would stand and jeer the victim being punished. The Church of England gave no comfort until they were challenged by Methodism and were forced to restore some degree of moral earnestness. One clergyman actually delivered a series of four sermons ‘on the nature, folly, sin and anger of being righteous overmuch’. He must have been gratified by the eager response to his message. In this age the masses were not readily identifiable as Christians. Frankly, I doubt there had been any age where mankind really lived by what the Savior taught. The need for the restoration was great in London and in all parts of the world.
KING HENRY VIII
Pages could be written about this king and many things have already been written about him and his six wives. I think he would be amazed to learn that his lack of a male heir was his own fault and not that of his many wives. Unwittingly, he promoted the beginnings of the Reformation in England by separating from the Roman Catholic Church and decreeing that the Pope had no authority in England. He started his own church, the Church of England, because the church did not accept his marriage to his brother’s widow and he insisted on installing himself as its head. He wanted a son as an heir so badly he would either divorce his unsuccessful wives or have them put to death. The Church of England did not change much except for divorce and remained much closer to the doctrine and practices of the Catholic Church than any other church. Only his sixth wife outlived him. His only son died young and his most famous daughter was Elizabeth I, who followed him as Queen. Those of us who are of English descent can be grateful to him because it was by his orders that the clerics of England were instructed by law to keep a record of christenings, marriages and burials in all of England. He wanted a head count, but without these records those of us who delve into Family History would be without valuable records to establish our family lines.
REIGN OF ELIZABETH I
London continued to flourish as a trading port and craft and trade guilds began to develop. Guild members elected the first Mayor in the 1190’s, and in 1215 King John gave London the right to govern itself. By 1400 there were 50,000 people living in London and her mayor had become so important that at some point in history he was given the title of “Lord Mayor.” It continued to expand beyond the wall and nobles began to build estates to the west just outside of London’s walls. At the death of King Henry VIII, Westminster Palace became the meeting place of Parliament and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I began her long and successful reign.
The reign of Queen Mary, 1553-1558 attempted to restore Catholicism but her cause perished because of the Protestant martyrs—for the most part humble shopkeepers and tradesmen with whom Londoners could easily identify—being burned for the good of their souls instilled a revulsion from Catholicism not entirely yet extinguished in England. The date of Elizabeth’s accession was celebrated for 150 years. Her reign was the most glorious in English history and not least, because apart from the occasional tiff, Londoners were amongst her most devout worshipers. With a strong Navy built by her father, Elizabeth was able to defeat the Spanish Armada, however, I think the Lord had a hand in this battle. A terrible storm arose as the battle was to take place and the Spanish Armada was pretty much destroyed by the force of the storm. What was left of it crept back to Spain.
POPULATION EXPLOSION: FOOD AND HOUSING
There were many new English arrivals in London, drawn by hope of work and wealth but not always finding either. Nevertheless, population had begun to mushroom. In 1500 there were about 75,000 living in London; in 1600 there were about 220,000; and by 1650 the number had grown to about 450,000. By then London was on its way to becoming the largest European town while Norwich the next largest city had only a population of about 29,000. The city’s food had been supplied mostly from surrounding counties but by 1650 it was coming from as far away as Cornwall, Berwick on Tweed and Wales. The housing shortage was huge and seemed to never get solved. By 1660 the City was more densely populated than ever. Rents soared and communal living became more and more communal. One moderate sized house sheltered no fewer than eleven married couples and fifteen single persons.
Water supplies were completely inadequate in the middle of the 16th century. Wells were frequently polluted with sewage; wooden conduits bringing water from various springs outside the City to a dozen or so street cisterns were leaky and unreliable and the Thames stank to such a degree that the Venetian ambassador complained the its ‘odour remains even in clean linen’. The river water was limited because they were lacking the pumps to bring the water to where it was needed. In 1572 a wheel was invented to use the tidal rush through London Bridge to pump the water to high points in the city. Early in the seventeenth century water was brought to London by means of a forty mile channel from a spring in Hertfordshire, which still supplies water to much of north London.
One of the last great epidemics in London was the devastating disease, Cholera. Its threat began in 1832 but little was done about it beyond setting up local health boards, which soon sunk into oblivion. The government had a day of national prayer and fasting but the first cholera victim in London died four days later. By autumn 5,000 had died from the disease, but no measures were taken to combat it. Sewage was a big problem, particularly in the poorer sections of the city. Infighting over the control of sewage and water caused delays in solving the problem and in 1848, with the shadow of cholera again rearing its ugly head, the fatal mistake occurred. In 1849 a flushing out of the city’s sewers was ordered. The damage was done by flushing the sewers into the Thames from which all London’s water companies except the New River drew their supplies. The results were terrible when 14,000 people died of Cholera that year. That same year a pamphlet was published stating that the cholera germ was carried in water, which proved to be true. But it took time to clean up the water, although not all water was polluted enough to cause the disease.
WAR, PLAGUE AND FIRE
The 1600’s were challenging years for the city, and for the country as well. Three very significant disasters took place in the 1600s that would have a great effect on the day-to-day life of the people. There is no doubt that many of our ancestors saw, first hand, the events of that century that changed England so much, preparing it for our day and age.
One cannot imagine the suffering that took place, particularly in the City of London, during the 1600s. Much of this we did not learn about in school, and yet it played a part in the lives of our ancestors. It is a shame we cannot know more about their individual lives besides just names, dates and places. But then having that much information is more than we have on the majority of these people that lived before us. Perhaps this history will help us better understand their contributions to society for us and will help us to better appreciate our fortune in being born in this day and age, benefitting from what has transpired in the past.
First, the Civil War was a struggle for power between Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell against King Charles I. Oliver was elected to Parliament in 1628, and in 1629 the King dismissed Parliament because he believed that God gave the king the right to rule, making Parliament unnecessary. Civil war broke out in 1642 and he became its leading general. He had no military training but became a brilliant cavalry leader, his forces never losing a battle. London sided with Cromwell who had embraced the puritan religion for its simplicity and opposed the Church of England and the luxurious life of the nobility. The Parliament, with the support of the Puritans won, forcing King Charles to surrender in 1646.
Oliver Cromwell was a leader in the king’s trial and execution in 1649, when he was beheaded. Few leaders have inspired more love and respect or more fear and hatred than Oliver Cromwell. Through his leadership, England became a republic and was called the Commonwealth of England. In the next two years he crushed uprisings by Scottish and Irish forces and defeated the army loyal to Charles Stuart, son of the executed king.
THE GREAT PLAGUE
During the twelve month period of 1625, 41,313 lives were claimed by the plague. Between 1640 and 1647, the Plague claimed 14,420 lives at least. But the worst of all epidemics thus far would strike again, beginning in February or March of 1665. The disease was spread by fleas from infected rats, which swarmed through the slums surrounding the city. Before the epidemic died down in 1666, it had taken about 100,000 lives. Squalid conditions of life existed among the poor when herded together in undrained dirty tenements and hovels, or underground cellars. Over the years London had learned nothing because sanitary science had not yet been discovered. Foul streams like the Fleet, defiled from every overhanging house and neighboring alley, were no better than open sewers and along the banks of these filthy watercourses.
It started in the outlaying parishes and crept inward to the city. As they fell victims to the illness, the entire family or group living in the home would be quarantined to live together in the confines of the infection. Red crosses were painted on the door and no one was allowed to leave. Almost without question, those remaining healthy would also succumb to the disease. Some were sent to the pest house where people with infectious diseases such as small pox were housed. As the disease progressed, the wealthier people would leave the city in a panic with no thought for those left behind. But there were those heroic family members that stayed with their loved ones and a little body of doctors and apothecaries who courageously stayed to labor among the Plague-stricken people. In many instances an entire family, shut in, was destroyed within a week’s time. Town guards were posted to keep people from fleeing but some managed to creep out. The bodies of a man, a woman and a little child lay on the open downs two miles away. The woman, the last survivor of the three, had scratched with her hands a shallow hole for her husband, and therein had half buried him. During one week ten thousand victims lay dying, which gave the living a terrible burden in caring for the sick and in burying the dead. Words cannot adequately convey the hopelessness as day succeeded day, and always the Plague enlarged. It passed unseen from one to another, a thing hard to grasp, beyond human understanding.
John Tillison, a minor official of St. Paul’s Cathedral wrote: “We are in good hopes that God in his mercy will put a stop to this sad calamity of sickness. But the desolation of the City is very great; that heart is either steel or stone that will not lament for this sad visitation, and will not bleed for those unutterable sorrows. It is a time, God knows, that one woe courts another. Those that are sick are in extreme sorrow; the poor are in need; those that are in health are in fear of infection on the one side, and the wicked intentions of hellish rebellious spirits to put us in an uproar on the other side. What eye would not weep to see so many habitations uninhabited, the poor sick not visited, the hungry not fed, the grave not satisfied? Death stares us continually in the face in every infected person that passes by us in every coffin, which is daily and hourly, carried along the streets. The bells never cease to put us in mind of our mortality.” The disease itself is too horrible to describe, but as death approached a rash would spread over the entire body called “tokens” and are commemorated in what has now become an innocent children’s rhyme:
I think I have heard ashes, ashes in place of tishoo, which probably signifies the disinfectants burned in the streets to ward off the plague. One out of three of those left behind in the city perished and they were of the poor class primarily. Other parts of England were affected by the plague, but not to the extent of that in London. By the end of 1665, it had started to subside, but there were still outbreaks in different areas of the city. Living conditions may have started to improve but a more plausible reason for the plagues disappearance is that the brown rat, less susceptible to the plague fleas, chased out the black rat. The City barely had time to recover from the effects of the plague when a new tragedy was soon to take place.
THE GREAT FIRE
There had been a great deal of concern for some time over the possibility that London might burn. City houses were nearly all flimsy lath and plaster and wood construction with the timbers coated with pitch. The streets were usually so narrow that neighbors could converse from one house to another across the street without having to raise their voices. In spite of the plague there were possibly 200,000 living within the city. Londoners had hteir last complete glimpse of the medieval City on Sept. 1, 1666. At about one or two o’clock in the morning on Pudding Lane, a very narrow street with shops close together and nearby a dumping ground for the butchers of East Cheap market, the king’s baker, who also lived on the Lane, failed to damp down his oven properly. This set his house ablaze while sparks set fire to some hay stored in a nearby yard. By morning 300 houses and the London Bridge were on fire and the wheel pumps destroyed. Fires were common and no one was alarmed on the Sunday morning and many attending church as usual. There had been a long dry spell and one of the problems was that the wind blew increasingly hard from the east over the next three days. Building after building was consumed by the fire and with the water pump on Thames destroyed, they had no means to fight the fire. The western half of the city was reduced to ashes and only the massive stonework of Newgate offered any obstruction to its progress.
PUDDING LANE / PIE CORNER
It did not stop in that part of the city until it had ended at Pie Corner. One preacher argued that ‘starting on Pudding Lane and subsiding at Pie Corner was clear evidence that the catastrophe had been occasioned by the sin of gluttony’. The fire continued to consume the city as the winds blew even stronger and finally reached St. Paul’s Cathedral. On the morning of September 5, one observer climbed up the church tower to survey the scene, commenting that this was ‘the sadest sight of desolation that ever I saw’. Five-sixths of the area within th wall had been burned. All that was left were door porches, chimneys, and of churches, nothing but empty towers and gutted naves (the main part) open to the sky.
By then people began wondering hopelessly into the burned areas where the hot coals were felt through their shoes. The now homeless wretches were seen carrying their belongings and wondering where to go. The weather was fair for the time being, for had it rained it would have complicated their situation. The smoke hung low over the city with no wind to blow it away, it was a little more depressing. There was a lot of political finger pointing as to who caused the fire with many accusing the Catholics of setting it, but there was no time to waste but to begin to come together and rebuild London.
However, more than six months later, in March of 1667, there were still cellars smoking in the City despite an exceptionally harsh winter. In five days the work of centuries had been destroyed. One observer reduced the catastrophe to a single sentence, affecting in its simplicity, staggering in its implications: ‘London was, but is no more.’ The losses included St. Paul’s Cathedral, more than eighty other churches, the Royal Exchange and 13,000 houses, but the “Tower” was spared. Amazingly the fire caused no known deaths.
Londoners rebuilt with brick and stone this time and the great architect of the new City was Sir Christopher Wren, who wanted to change the angles of streets by making them straight and wide, but it became too big a problem as to the ownership of the land. So the original boundaries were retained. Few people returned to live in the city except for the merchants for some time to come. But by 1800 London had a population of about one million people, the largest city in the world (throughout most of the 1800’s). The growth in population was a result of the industrial revolution and the growth of the factories in the city. But it also brought misery along with prosperity. Factory, dock and warehouse workers were desperately poor and lived with their families in crowded, disease-ridden slums, chiefly in the east end of the city. Starting in 1840, railroads were developing which improved transportation considerably. More and more people were moving to the western suburbs.
Just an interesting sidelight on the curious name of one of the interesting areas of London. Robert Baker a tailor bought a plot of land a half mile west of St. Martin’s Lane in what was to become a rather upscale neighborhood. There was nothing particularly unusual about the area in 1606 except that Mr. Baker decided that he would become a “Gentleman”, which caused his neighbors to snicker. As a form of ridicule, they dubbed house “Pickadilly Hall”, very likely in allusion to his former calling since a ‘pickadil’ was the hem at the skirt of a garment. So, but for the pretensions of a tailor Piccadilly might have been Baker Street. In English terms, the word circus is not the kind of circus of which we are familiar. It is a “circular area at an intersection of streets.” (Webster’s Dictionary)
London’s population grew from 575,000 in 1700 to 675,000 in 1750; one in six Englishmen was either living or had lived in London. Hordes of servants were imported to sustain the life of fashion, artists in search of a patron, political refugees; all manner of workmen, both skilled craftsmen and casual laborers, criminals escaping from justice—for all these the road to London appeared to offer the best means of supporting existence. Many of them drifted towards the eastern suburbs because in 1700 a quarter of London’s jobs were still related directly or indirectly to the shipping crowding into the ports. Although Bristol and Liverpool absorbed some of the traffic, London still accounted for 65% of the foreign trade in 1790. The Bank of England was built in 1734, having moved from its first home in Grocers’ Hall. It was here that Philip Wise Bott was employed for a number of years. The question will always be left unanswered as to who was influential enough to get him the job in the first place and why did he not stay in their employment?
In 1800 a million people, who regarded themselves as Londoners, were living in London, however, there were some 134,000 living within the square mile of the City’s boundaries. London stretched four miles from east to west and for two miles from north to south. It included Fulham. Hammersmith and Chiswick on the north side. They started out as individual villages but were engulfed by the growth of the city. Despite all the new buildings there were still pockets of squalor with murky alleys and streets full of ramshackle buildings and hovels. The east end, especially along the shores of the Thames, consisted of old houses, narrow, dark and ill-paved streets.
The contrast between this and the west end was large; the houses there were mostly new and elegant, with streets, straight and open and superb squares. This part of the city was not crowded with buildings; it was more like a country town with gardens here and there and the smell of flowers in many of the streets. Chancery Lane, now the crowded abode of lawyers and law-offices, was a real country lane with fields and trees on either side. In Drury Lane there was, on one side of it, no houses at all; on the other side, some half-dozen houses, including Drury House. The Strand was lined with houses on both sides as far as Charing Cross, but behind each house was a large, well-laid-out garden, some of them stretching down to the river. Covent Garden was the garden of a convent; Hay Market had not a single house, nor Hedge Lane, which was to become one of the more crowded parts of London. Deer fed in St. James’s Park. The Thames ran sweet, clear, and sparkling between noble country-houses on the left and green fields on the right hand. The citizens walked out to Holborn where some of our ancestors lived for a change of air; and the fresh country air of Fetter Lane was recommended for children and invalids. The western part of the city was where the wealthy and the nobility lived in stately mansions.
At one time, The Italian Ambassador wrote home: “In one single street, named the Strand, leading to St. Paul’s, there are fifty-two goldsmiths’ shops, so rich and full of silver vessels, great and small, that in all the shops in Milan, Rome, Venice, and Florence put together, I do not think there are to be found so many, or of the magnificence to be seen in London.
The Industrial Revolution was dawning but had not yet affected the appearance of the City, while the trade boom, which came with the development of power-driven machinery was still on the horizon. The first regular horse-drawn bus service appeared along Marylebone Road in 1829 and soon there were routes to such distant parts as Hammersmith and other areas. Those who could afford the transportation began to build homes in the suburbs. Until the 1840s, however, the minimum fare was usually sixpence, which was too expensive for the masses. Therefore, the majority of the people had to remain near where they could get to work easily. The only cheap transport at the time was provided by steamboats on the river.
With the advent of the first steam-powered railway in 1836, it put London at the heart of a network of lines stretching over most of the country although they were concerned with long-distance traffic. So before the 1860s very few people went to work by train, and the center of London still remained congested. Actually the early railways certainly worsened crowded conditions because so many houses were torn down to make way for the railroad lines. Over 100,000 people, most of them poor, lost their homes in this way. Whatever the status of an area might have been before the arrival of the railway, it was bound to be lower afterwards. Far from finding refuge in some distant and spacious suburb, those displaced by the railway crammed into such run-down property as remained beside the devastated area. Not until the 1860s did the railroad companies begin to run workmen’s trains at specially reduced prices, was any attempt made to redress the havoc caused by railway building.
Between the 1860 and 1866 four railway bridges were built over the Thames to bring trains to the heart of the West End and the City. In 1863 the world’s first underground system opened. It was not what London has today in the ‘tube’ because the technique of deep tunneling was not developed until 1889. The underground was constructed by simply cutting a channel in the surface and then covering it over, which created difficulties with sewers, water lines and gas lines.
After writing about all the depressing things happening in London, it is nice to pause and think about the lighter side, and there was one in the 1800’s. However, one of the most popular public places in 1599 was the Globe Theater where Shakespeare began to present his plays. A new Globe Theater has been built in London where his plays continue to be seen. As early as 1710 a group of composers and musicians got together and organized the Academy of Music to study and perform together. Their performances were in the Crown and Anchor tavern and one of their keenest attendants was the composer Handel, who had just arrived from Germany. In 1732 a program was started to train boy’s singing voices and in 1747 ladies were admitted. A former Convent, Covent Garden’s Royal Theater, was where much of Handel’s work was first performed and operas were performed regularly as they are today. When Dick and I visited Covent Garden there were wonderful singers performing in front of the theater. Much was going on there besides music such as a flea market and an open market for farm produce. It was quite a place and I could have spent many more hours there than what we had to spare.
Theater became important and in 1720 a group of French actors opened at a new theater in Haymarket. In 1766 it received its full charter and became The Theater Royal in the Haymarket. Drury Lane had the Theater Royal In 1771 the Pantheon also began to offer dancing and other entertainments and it was successful from the beginning. Over 2,000 people attended the first ball. The Royal Grove was where the Royal Amphitheater was built in the late 1700’s for a riding school with a stage, two tiers of boxes, a pit and a gallery. There were expert riders devising dramatic spectacles. In 1773 the Royal Grove burned down and nineteen adjoining housed were also destroyed. The owner at once set about to rebuild the Grove, making it larger and more elegant as the Amphitheater of Arts, with music and theatrical entertainments, and still having superb shows and displays of superb horsemanship. Horsemanship was a popular activity, not only in England but it was developed in the Eastern United States as well. There is something very stately about English riding and I prefer watching it over western riding. Julie and Amy both became involved in English riding schools in Virginia when we lived there.
In 1829 London was growing too big and diverse to allow sporadic and localized outbursts of violence and the various political factions were causing so much turmoil and actual violence that Sir Robert Peel, who was the minister responsible for this daring assault on liberty, organized the present day police force. Today they are still nicknamed “bobbies” after him. The first idea was to dress them in red and gold uniforms but it was decided that they would be dark blue and black, looking less like the military.
The code of action as a constable was “enjoined to be civil and attentive to all persons, of every rank and class; insolence and incivility will not be lightly passed over. In addition he should display a perfect command of temper, never suffering himself to be moved, in the slightest degree, by any language or threats that may be used; if he does his duty in a quiet and determined manner, such conduct will probably induce well-disposed bystanders to assist him should he require it.” They have been famous for this kind of composure and for not carrying a gun, only a ‘Billy Club’
This is the kind of atmosphere in which our English ancestors in London lived. There is no way we can know just what each of them experienced, but perhaps the general history of some of the high points of the history of London will give us some idea of what life was like for them far back into the distant past and on through the years until our emigrant ancestor, Philip Wise Bott joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and came to America, traveling on to Utah five years later. This is where the history ends as the Bott family emigrated from England in 1870. We as his descendants are here because of him and many others from whom he is descended. Thank goodness we can enjoy the blessings of this free society because of their choices!
POSTSCRIPT by Annette Richards
I started out rewriting my original section on the History of London, trying to keep the footnotes in place, but as I started rearranging sections, I absolutely lost track of where each footnote was from and finally decided not to worry about it. Actually, this work is more of a compilation than my own writing as I have used mostly the writings that I have gleaned from the original sources and since it was taking so much of my time to complete this project, I could not spend enough time on it to write in my own way. So I take no credit for most of the actual writing. In some instances I have used my own wording and added thoughts of my own, but I have not been creative in the composition as I am no historian and not a fluent writer. I hope the reader understands and will forgive me for taking the easier way. Even then, it has been a huge project.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF LONDON SECTION
1. Bell, Walter George. The Great Plague of London. p. 158.
2. Borer, Mary Cathcart. An Illustrated Guide to London 1800. Robert Hale, Pub.
3. Burt, Isabella. Historical Notes of Chelsea, Kensington, Fulham and Hammersmith. 1871.
4. Farrell, Jerome and Bayliss, Christine. Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush (in old Photographs). London: Alan Sutton Publishing Limited.
5. Gray, Robert. The History of London. N.Y.: Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc., 1979.
6. “King Henry VIII”, The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 9 p. 189.
7. “London”, The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol.12 p. 444-446.
8. Micklejohn, J.M.D.. History of England and Great Britain. p. 358-9
9. “Oliver Cromwell”, The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4 p. 1150
As previously mentioned, Thomas Bott was born at Blankney in Lincolnshire, but left the farm to go to London. His situation was a little different from many young men who went to London. At seventeen he became a clerk in the Bank of England. It would be interesting to know how he was able to obtain such a prestigious position. Probably he had some family living in London, or someone who had influence in his obtaining such a position.
According to a letter received by the researcher, Mr. Cotton, from the Bank of England dated 20 April 1941, it confirmed that Thomas Bott was appointed to the Staff of the Bank of England on 16 June 1803 and worked there until 18 Feb 1819. The bank’s records indicated that he was born in Lincolnshire and his father was a farmer.
Five years later, he married Elizabeth Wise, whose family has been traced back to the early 1700’s in London. According to Philip Wise Bott’s notebook, his grandfather, Philip Wise was a “wholesale carcass butcher” at Fleet Market while also participating as a Deacon in the independent Chapel at Flatton Garden in London. Philip’s father was a cooper and came to London from Surrey at least by 1727 because he was married in London that year. Thomas and Elizabeth had three children, but only Philip Wise Bott grew to maturity.
SKEGGS / BOTT
Eliza Elizabeth Skeggs, who married Philip Wise Bott, was born in Chiswick not far from Hammershith. However, her family, for the most part, came from Wiltshire and Essex. We have no information as to when they came to London, except that her parents were married in London in 1825 prior to her birth.
Her father, James Skeggs, was a smith by trade and born in Chigwell, Essex County. It was his grandmother, Elizabeth Church, who was robbed and murdered while she was busy working as a servant at Rhodes Well. Her second husband, John Johnson, was also a servant there and had been gone only a short time before the murder occurred. (click here to see newspaper extract) Unfortunately, her first husband had deserted her and had children by her own sister, Ann. James died in 1845.
Her mother, Charlotte Trowbridge, was an only child, born to William Williams and Elizabeth Trowbridge who never married. As a result, she took her mother’s maiden surname for her own. Little is known about her life except, as a widow she was running a laundry in Hammersmith, supporting herself and her daughter. Undoubtedly, Eliza helped her mother with the business. At the time of ther death in 1858, it appears that Eliza took over the laundry business and continued to run it long after she began having hew own family until the time they left for America. She had a sister christened Mary Ann, who must have died young, as we have no information on her except for her christening. This meant that both Eliza and Philip were raised as only children, due to the deaths of their siblings.
Philip Wise Bott was born in the Holborn area of London in St. Luke’s Parish, although he was christened in a church other than the Church of England. He had two sisters that evidently died young but we have no death dates for them. His first wife, Elizabeth Frances Roxby by which he had eleven children, was from Surrey. We know nothing about her or how he met Eliza Elizabeth Skeggs, but with his twelve children by Eliza, he must have a numerous posterity, still in England.
From the research that has been done, it appears that those who have been identified in the Bott ancestry, were farmers or had some trade they followed that would place them in the lower-middle or middle class of their day.
The first palce of residence for Philip and Eliza Elizabeth was at Northend, Fulham, where their eldest son, James was born in 1848. It is an ancient parish that dates as far back as 691 A.D. It is said that the name comes from a Saxon word “Fullonham”, or the home of water fowls. Fulham once included Hammersmith, which was a hamlet in earlier days. Two years later, following James’ birth the family was lving at Hammersmith on South Street where the laundry was situated. All the children except the last two were born there. By the time their daughter Cella, was born, they had moved to Leffern Road, probably in anticipation of their journey to America.
It appears that they were spared from becoming infected by one of the last great epidemics in London. Cholera took 14,000 lives during the year 1849. That same year a pamphlet was published stating that the cholera germ was carried in water, which proved to be true. But it took time to clean up the water, although not all water was polluted enough to cause the disease. Living in Hammersmith, they were probably protected by better water and thus escaped the dreaded disease.
From what I have read, their choice of residence was a good choice. Hammersmith was considered one of the prettiest of hamlets in the London area. And due to its popularity, it eventually turned into one of London’s largest suburbs. It may have derived its name from a Saxon word “Ham” meaning a town, or collection of dwellings and “hyde or Hythe”, meaning a harbour, creek or river large enough to form a quay or dock for landing any kind of merchandize. And of course Hammersmith is located on the banks of the River Thames.
There is a rather absurd legend that explains how it became “Hammersmith” rather than Ham-hythe. The two churches of Fulham and Putney are exactly alike and exactly opposite to each other, with the river flowing between. It is said that they were built by two pious sisters of gigantic stature, who had but one hammer between them, which, in throwing it across the water to each other, got broken. A smith, residing at Ham-hythe mended it, enabling them to continue their pious employment; and the place was called “Hammersmith” from that time on.
It was in the court rolls of the early part of Henry VII’s reign, as “Hammersmith” and was part of the manor of Fulham until 1834 when it became a parish. It was also mentioned in the Domesday-book of William the Conqueror. The conquering Danes ravaged and burned here with their usual savagery, and battles of the Civil War were fought here. The first suspension bridge of its kind was built over the Thames at Hammersmith in 1825. Whether it is still there or not is uncertain. I guess I shall have to go there and find out. Evidently the view from the bridge was picturesque and considered a wonderful place for artists to paint their pictures. Over all, this part of the suburbs was famous for its clean air and a place for people to take walks and enjoy the fresh air.
The lands of both Hammersmith and Fulham were highly cultivated in early times, including the time the Botts lived there. Flowers and vegetables were grown and this area served as a great fruit and kitchen garden for the London market. Also, fishing was an important part of the economy and supported a number of families until the Thames became so polluted that the fish died out.
The great Western Road ran right through the parish and was well traveled by pack horses, wagons, horsemen, noblemen’s carriages, stage coaches as well as the “feared” highwaymen that plundered and stole from those who traveled the road. Because of heavy traffic there were many old inns to service the travelers, most of which have probably been torn down by now. Hammersmith was at one time a highly aristocratic place and many so-called celebrities and wealthy people chose to live there.
There were several churches in Hammersmith, but Papa was born in St. Peters Parish, yet was never christened there. Primarily because two years before his birth, his parents had joined the L.D.S. Church. Evidently St. Peters was a “handsome stone church”, which is all that I could find out about it. It was situated on Black Lion Lane, but it seems to have been torn down. While I was in London, I spent an afternoon trying to find all the churches that figured in the lives of our London ancestors. That was one we could not find. It bay have been bombed during the 2nd World War and what was left of it, torn down. At least we have a picture of it. Papa was too young to go to school in England, but Hammersmith was known for its excellent schools, usually attached to the parish church. There is a good chance that the older Bott children may have attended school at S. Peters.
On my first visit to London, our taxi drove through Hammersmith. I was quite excited to see the name on a sign and I only had a few minutes to look around as we drove through the area. All I really saw was a lot of big buildings in the usual 19th century architecture, and I have an idea that this part of London has been changed from the 1870’s and South Street may have a new name because the taxi driver could not find it on the map.
We did locate St. Luke’s on “Old Street” the Parish where Philip Wise Bott lived. However, he was not christened there. I felt sad as I saw its condition. It must have been an attractive building judging from what was left of it. The Tower still stood intact but the main part of the building was nothing but a shell, the stone showing the effects of a fire probably caused by the bombing blitz that was carried on by ther Germans. Perhaps its shell was left as a monument to the effects of the war on the area, because this klpart of London was really leveled.
After Papa’s family joined the church, they attended an L.D.S. branch at Shepherd’s Bush, which was about a mile from Hammersmith and three miles from the famous “Marble Arch”. It was disappointing to know how close it was to us as our hotel was right by the Marble Arch. Shepherd’s Bush has also become an active London suburb while, previously, it was a small village surrounded by wild waste lands. Nearby was a once large wooded area of about two hundred acres, but in 1812 it was leveled to be used for military purposes.
JOSEPH BARFOOT BOTT
This brings me to Papa’s story. Papa had a sense of humor and I can remember him bragging to us that he was born in February with all the famous people, namely Washington and Lincoln. Well, when I started verifying information on his family, I sent for birth certificates and discovered that he was really born March 4th of 1865, which I am sure would have disappointed him. His certificate states that they were living at 22 South Street in Hammersmith and his father was a “labourer”. His mother was recorded by only her first name, Eliza. He was the tenth child to be born to them, with two older sisters and one brother dying in infancy, making him the sixth living child.
Papa was blessed at Shepherd’s Bush Branch, where they were attending church, by a neighbor and good friend of the family named “Joseph Barfoot”, who had also recently joined the church. They must have thought a lot of this gentleman to have given their son his name. Joseph also came to Utah, settling in Salt Lake City, becoming the custodian of the Church Museum there.
Papa was just four years old when it was decided that the family would leave England and gather with the Saints in Utah. It must have been a difficult decision for them to uproot their family, sell the Laundry and prepare to leave, not to mention the fact that Eliza was expecting her eleventh child momentarily. To add to the stress of the situation, their eldest son, James at fifteen, did not accept this new religion and was refusing to leave England. But the importance of their commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and their desire to gather with the Saints in Zion made it impossible for them to change the direction of their lives. Therefore, it must have been with heavy hearts that they prepared to leave without him. In his place they brought with them a young orphan girl, Emma Smuin, whom they had taken into their home.
NEW BABY, BIG JOURNEY
On June 1, 1865, a baby girl was born to Philip and Eliza. Ten days later, in company with a group of Saints, including most of the members of the Shepherd’s Bush Branch, they traveled to Liverpool in preparation for the journey. They must have boarded the ship “Cella” and sailed sometime around the nineteenth of June because it took them three weeks to travel across the ocean, arriving in New York City on July 10th, 1869. En route, the ship stopped at Le Havre, France to take on Marble to be used for an L.D.S. chapel being built in New York. This particular ship was used earlier to assist in laying the first Atlantic cable for sending messages across the ocean.
The crossing was rather rough but amazingly no one got seasick except eight year old Elizabeth, however, it was very hard on Eliza and the baby. This new baby was given the name of “Cella” after the ship on which they had traveled.
As they arrived at the immigration station at Castle Gardens, the weary converts eagerly scanned the station for the church authorities who were to meet them there. But due to a misunderstanding of sailing dates, they arrived unwelcomed and stranded in a new country. To make matters worse, most of them had spent all their savings on passage. The Bott family, in fact, had but one shilling amongst them, which actually belonged to their son Johnny. And since another ship was waiting at the dock, it was necessary that they leave the station at once.
It was decided that the former branch president, Jacob Pierce and Papa’s father should go into the city and attempt to locate members of the church who could help them. Perhaps it was more than a coincidence, for within a matter of minutes, they met two English converts on the street who returned with them and led the immigrants to the “Mormon Barracks”, which had been used previously as a Civil War barracks. There the Church furnished them with money and lodgings until they were able to find work.
All of the new arrivals were tremendously impressed with New York City, especially young Joe Bott. His keen interest often proved to be a source of great concern to his mother as it had already led to a broken arm that occurred shortly after their arrival. But undaunted by this misfortune, he continued to pursue the countless attractions which surrounded him.
LITTLE BOY LOST
Joe was particularly fascinated with the many bands which paraded up and down the streets. On one occasion, a funeral procession was being ushered through the streets by a brass band. As usual, he found the impulse to follow the stirring music irresistible. So he happily proceeded along with the procession until sometime hater, he realized that he was hopelessly lost. He stood there, terribly confused and frightened by the crowds and not knowing where to go. Thus it was a very frightened and penitent little boy that a policeman led to a nearby precinct station. Here he was delivered safely to his worried mother whom another policeman had located.
HUDSON RIVER INCIDENT
Papa tells in his own words of an experience he had with his brother, Johnny, while they were living in a section of New York called “Williamsburg” (Brooklyn): “Mother had always advised John to go to Sunday School and had told him that something would happen if he did not go. One Sunday morning, instead of going to church as he had been told, John took me out on a raft on the Hudson River. I slipped off, but John managed to grab hold of me as I was going down for the last time. Mother didn’t discover it until a week later when she found sand in my clothes. John told her if I had drowned, he never would have returned home. After that incident, he never again missed Sunday School.”
Making the necessary adjustments in her new life was not easy for Elizabeth and she had a strong desire to return to England where she could be with her son and perhaps recapture her life as she had known it. But she was confronted by the inflexible determination of her younger son, John, and made the decision to accept the changes in her life and prepare for the time they could continue on to Utah. It was necessary for the family to remain in New York while Philip earned enough money to pay or their journey to Utah, which took five years. During the time they lived there the children attended an school supported by a group of wealthy citizens. Here the English children, whose neatness and courtesy impressed their teachers and classmates, received hot lunches and clothing. Before the family left the city, Philip addressed a letter of appreciation and thanks to the school, which was subsequently printed in a New York newspaper.
Johnny, impatient to reach Utah, set out alone at the age of fifteen, paying his own fare. Three months later, he was able to help his family locate in Brigham City. As the train traveled at a rate of only fifteen or twenty miles an hour, it took them eleven days to arrive at their destination, having transferred twenty-five times during the trip. Finally they arrived in Brigham City and stayed in the home of Bishop Nichols until they were able to find a place to live.
Settled at last, the children began attending school again. Unfortunately the baby, Cella, had lived less than a year and passed away while they were still in New York in March of 1870. In January of 1871, their last child, William, was born but only lived for six months. As was so common in those days, out of the twelve children blessed to them, they were left with seven who grew to maturity.
Philip had worked hard while in New York to raise enough money to bring his family to Utah. After their arrival he wanted to show his appreciation to the Lord for their many blessings and went to Lorenzo Snow, who was the president of the Box Elder Stake. He offered to give to the church the one thousand dollars that he had left over from the cost of their journey and getting settled. But President Snow refused the money, stating that the Saints had not as yet reached the state of perfection necessary to live according to the United Order.
MOVE TO OGDEN
While living in Brigham City, Joe worked for a while in a hat shop where all the hats worn by the church leaders were made. He often sang a Danish song that he learned while working there. It was decided that the industrial advantages in this small community were limited, so the family sold their cow to raise additional funds to move to Ogden, which took place in May of 1880. Joe was about fifteen years of age at the time. After living in Ogden for about two years, Philip bought a pasture at Twenty-eights and Lincoln Avenue. When he was able to raise the additional funds, they built a four room house on the property costing $1,000.00. This was to be their home for many years to come. Everyone in the family worked hard and contributed funds so they could pay for it as it was being built. Joe did his part by working for a plumber named Mr. Kershaw, driving throughout the county delivering pumps.
Some time later, he began his career on the railroad as an “engine wiper” which was to be interrupted and finally terminated in a series of unfortunate accidents. He began “braking” in 1882, but in 1886 his leg was crushed while coupling cars, which put him in the Union Pacific Hospital (site of the Lewis school) for a period of time to repair the damage to his leg. In 1892 he contracted Typhoid Fever and lay seriously ill for four months. At a moment of crisis he had a vivid dream of being lifted from a muddy grave onto a soft green bank and offered another chance. So strong was his impression, that he was absolutely convinced of his recovery. And true to his conviction, his condition improved from that moment on. In 1901 both his feet were broken in the Rio Grande Railroad yards which put him in the hospital for three more months. This injury terminated his railroading permanently.
JOSEPH BARFOOT BOTT AND MARGARET ALLAN FYFE
In the meantime he met Margaret Fyfe at his sister Polly’s birthday party. When he introduced her to his father, Philip told him that he believed they would be married and expressed his satisfaction that his son had found a fine girl. He died shortly after this. His prediction was correct as they were married a few months later on November 23, 1886. Following the ceremony, the young couple entertained the entire family at lunch in their own home. They were extremely proud of these three rooms rented from Bill Lethbridge at eight dollars per month. It lacked linoleum but was completely furnished through their own efforts.
Unfortunately their honeymoon was cut short when just two days after the wedding, the man who had taken Joe’s place on the railroad was killed, which meant back to work for him. Eight months after their marriage, Joe’s father died, which prompted Joe and Margaret to move into the Bott family home to care for Grandmother Bott. Due to Grammy’s remarkable memory, these stories were a source of great interest to her children and grandchildren. My main regret is that I did not listen more closely.
When Grandmother Bott died in March of 1901, she left the old home to Papa and Grammy. Here in this four room house, eight of their children were born, with Bert being the last, born in 1906. While he was still a baby, the family moved to what would later be affectionately referred to as the “Big House”. Here their ninth child was born but died shortly thereafter. Then in 1911 their last child, Virginia, was born.
From railroading Joe turned to the express business and spent about three years handling the express for the Lucin Cut-off. As an expressman he was chosen as “Marshall of the Day” and lead a big 1903 Labor Day parade, being voted (votes cost ten cents each) the “most popular Union Man”.
In 1903 Joe joined the Ogden City Police Force under Chief Tom Browning. While on the force he was twice sent to San Francisco, guarding bars of silver for Wells Fargo. In 1904 he decided to go into business for himself. For the next sixteen years he confined his energies to operating several grocery stores.
Sometime between 1904 and 1911, Joe was running a saloon near Washington Blvd. and Twenty-third Street. At that time they were offering free lunches to go along with the drinks. But one day he found out that his son, Bill, had been coming to the Saloon to get the free lunches. So he closed the Saloon, and in March of 1911 he moved his family to Porterville to operate his “General Merchandise Store”. This put Grammy close to where her sister Janet was living as she married and lived in this area for the remainder of her life.
I can remember Dad telling stories about their trips between Ogden and Porterville. On the cars of that day, with the tires of that day, it was a constant battle of fixing flat tires so they could get to their destination. In about 1915 he built a store near his old home on Twenty-eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue, selling his Porterville store in 1916 when the new store was completed. He then concentrated on operating this new store.
Sometime in the early twenties, Joe was awarded a concession for running a store in South Fork Canyon, which he ran for eight years. Evidently there was a railroad that traveled up the canyon, which brought many people to the store during their canyon outings. It became a popular stopping-offpoint and became a profitable business for Papa. They lived in the back of the store and it became a “mecca” where their children, grandchildren and friends would gather each summer. The Pinochle, Sollo, and Rummy tournaments; the horse-shoe pitching, fishing, hiking and swimming; the song fests all continued until Margaret’s health was such that living in the canyon became undesirable. This particular area, for a time, was called “Bott’s Flat” after Papa and his store. Today it has been developed into a regular campground, having been developed by the Forestry Service. When I visited the campground this spring in hopes that we could hold our Bott Family Reunion here, I found it was crowded with all the camping slots filled up. Just before the reunion in June, Dick and I visited it again on a day that on one was there. Although I ws too young to rmember or not yet born, I experienced a nostalgic feeling as if I could feel the presence of the Bott family as they lived and played there. I noticed that the trees that show up in the picture of the old store (on each side) are still there and the path to the river is still well worn. Only the memories of those grandchildrenwho slpent time there are left, and as time goes by, only the name on the campground sign will remind their descendants that this was once a special place for the Bott family.
GOLDEN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
On November 25, 1936 Papa and Grammy celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary with an open house in which they had about one hundred guests, the entire family and many grandchildren present. At some point after this Grammy’s eyesight started to fail. They were able to celebrate their Emerald Anniversary in 1941 in “the Big House”, but after that, it was becoming too hard for Grammy to clean such a big house any more. So I was given the job of going there every Saturday and cleaning the house for Grammy. I got to know every “knook and cranny” in that big old house, which refreshed my memory from when I was a little girl living in the upstairs apartment. I have many memories of that house, both as a child and as I was growing up, and it was sad as I saw it deteriorate. It had become nothing more than a storage place until it was finally torn down and replaced with commercial buildings along the block.
I can still see Papa sitting on the front porch watering the lawn. I remember how Dad and his brothers would sit with Papa in the sitting room behind the kitchen and argue politics or whatever ws the topic of the day. I remember papa’s big rifle hanging on a hook on the ack of the bathroom door, which always scared me a little. I remember the pantry flor had a door that pulled up so we could go down some stairs to the basement. To me it wa creepy to go down there because he walls were stone and there was nothing more than a dirt floor and the lighting was very poor. I am almost certain that there were spiders in the corners and around which made it even less inviting. That was one palce I avoided going.
My sister, Ruth Jean, I, and perhaps some of our cousins, used to sleep out on the upstairs balcony or on the back porch once in a while which I thought was pretty special. I have memories of the row of red garages in the back yard and can remember seeing Papa’s old truck parked in the end one. We used to pick willows from the willow trees in the vacant lot next door and play cowboys and Indians. I often sat on the front gutter and watched the “bamberger train” go by and I loved to see the iceman come so we could get a piece of ice to suck on during the warm weather. Grammy made the best stew and I loved her orange cake. I still have one of her colorful drinking glasses as a special remembrance. The family parties were fun and I can remember Papa getting mad at Bob Hewitt because he kept opening and closing the big sliding doors between the bedroom and the parlor. We moved to our new home on Doxey St. when I was five but I always like to go back for a visit.
THE BIG MOVE
It finally got to be too much for them to keep up the house, so Grammy and Papa moved into our home where they lived until Papa’s death November 24, 1949. He was ill for about six weeks and I remember when he came home from the hospital. I went to his bedroom door, and although I could not see in there because ti was so dark, I asked him if he was glad to be home. It was the last thing he ever said to me when he said, “I’m not home yet, Annette”.
Grammy spent her remaining years visiting her daughters. Shortly before her death, she suffered a stroke and I saw her once before she passed away November 30, 1954. Grammy had always loved for many years. She and Papa were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple to each other and to two of their children who died in infancy and to four of their living children that were present.
A tribute to Grammy given by her daughter, Myrtle, as recorded by Beverly Nye in an earlier history is worth repeating here: “Small in stature and young in spirit, she led a very active life. But ill health and impaired vision restricted many of her activities such as the interminable solo tournament between “Maggie and Joe”, the hand made quilts bestowed upon her children and friends, her long hours of reading. These restrictions only served to divert her boundless energies into new channels. Her cheerfulness and ambition kept her young in spirit, while her sharp memory of things past, endeared her to those of us who knew her.”
Papa had a varied career: from hat factory to plumbing, to engine wiper, brakeman, expressman, policeman and finally to grocer reflects his may opportunities that he took in the process of supporting himself and his family. There is a passing statement that he was “a missionary in 1913” but beyond that I have no information.
He was enthusiastic in his opinion and outlook on life; witty in his speech, magnanimous in his sportsmanship and inflexible in his high standards of character. Papa always had a love for music and a pretty good singing voice in his younger days. Any musical talent I possess was passed on from him through my Dad to me and I appreciate the gift. His repertoire of old English and old American songs seemed endless as he spent hours entertaining his grandchildren by singing to them and accompanying himself on his accordion. I remember well the times I would sit at his feet and listen to him sing. Dad picked up a lot of his songs and did some entertaining himself. His was a full and useful life of eighty-four years.
As the story of Margaret Allan Fyfe and Joseph Barfoot Bott comes to an end, I would hope that I have accomplished two things: To tell Papa’s and Grammy’s story of course, but in addition, to tell the story of their heritage, the preparations that took place through their distant ancestors and their families down through the ages for this special time in the history of the world when the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be restored for the last time. Key ancestors did accept the Gospel and temple ordinances have been preformed for as many of them as we have been able to identify, that they may have the choice of accepting the temple ordinances done in their behalf.
We, too, as their descendants, have a choice also to benefit from the opportunities made available to us, which is part of the great Plan of Salvation that our Father in Heaven presented to us in our pre-earth life. We accepted it whole heartedly then, and it is here for us to accept it now, and live it whole heartedly then, and it is here for us to do so, for it is only through our Savior, Jesus Christ, and this great plan of Salvation that we can return to our Heavenly Father. May the Lord bless the family of Joseph Barfoot Bott and Margaret Allan Fyfe.
Annette Bott Richards
(Completed August 12, 1997)
There are still errors to be found by someone. In spite of its shortcomings, perhaps the value of the work will rise above its weaknesses.
One thing I have come to realize is that I am the one to benefit the most from this effort. My appreciation for my ancestors on this side of my family, and particularly for Grammy and Papa, has increased tremendously. With stories from Barbara, Kay, Mark, Alan and Tom, I have been given new insight into their lives and the uniqueness of their personalities. Though they were human and had human weaknesses, I see strengths in their character and many qualities we, their descendants, could emulate. I think they would both be pleased with the resulting book. Finally, I hope each of you will be pleased with this compilation and learn much that you may not have known before. And I would hope that it will be of value to future generations.
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2. Dr. Vaughn E. Hansen, Whence Come They? p. 1.
3. “The British Isles”, British Isles and Western Europe, Lands and Peoples Series, Vol. 1. p. 15.
4. “The Celts”, National Geographic, May 1977, p. 588.
5. Nora Chadwick, The Celts, p. 150.
6. Chadwick, p. 18.
7. “The Mediterranean Traders”, Barbarian Tides, Timeframe, 1500-800 B.C., p. 99.
8. The Drama of the Lost Disciples, (London: The Covenant Publishing Co., Ltd.), 1980 p. 17-18.
9. Dr. Vaughn E. Hansen, p. 19.
10. Dr. Hansen, p. 92.
11. “The Glass Island”, King Arthur’s Avalon, 942.38/G1 H2a p. 15, 16.
12. George Howard-Wright, M. A., Glastonbury and Rome: Their True Relationship, 1920, p. 17-18.
13. D. J. V. Fisher, The Anglo-Saxon Age, c. 400-1092, p. 18.
14. D. J. V. Fisher, p. 44-52.
15. Dr. Hansen, p. 19 and 100.
16. George Howard-Wright, p. 42
17. D. J. V. Fisher, p. 231-232.
18. P. H. Helm, Alfred the Great, p. 193-195.
19. Michael Jenner, Norman Conquerors, Realm Magazine, March/April 1997 p. 63.
20. Michael Jenner, p. 63.
21. Michael Jenner, p. 63.
22. Michael Jenner, p. 66.
23. “Magna Carta”, World Book Encyclopedia, vol. 6, p. 306.
24. “Magna Carta”, World Book Encyclopedia, vol. 13, p. 53.
25. Robert J. Matthews, A Bible, A Bible!, p. 5.
26. Robert J. Matthews, p. 6.
27. Robert J. Matthews, p. 7.
28. Robert J. Matthews, p. 8.
29. “Martin Luther”, World Book Encyclopedia, vol. 12, p. 531-2.
30. “Martin Luther”, World Book Encyclopedia, vol. 12, p. 531-2.
31. Wilford Woodruff (quote) L. D. S. General Conference, April, 1898, p. 57.
32. V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, Larry C. Porter, Editors, Truth Will Prevail, 1837-1987, L. D. S. Church, p. 1.
33. Truth Will Prevail, p. 230
34. “Elder Woodruff’s Letter”, Times and Seasons, 1 Mar 1841, p. 330.
35. Mathias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, p. 118.
36. Church History in the Fullness of Times, Church Educational system, church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 231.
37. Church History, p. 235.
38. Dr. Hansen, p. 21.
39. Truth Will Prevail, p. 184-5.
40. Nigael Tranter, The Story of Scotland, p. 2.
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42. Fordor, p. 27.
43. Robert Bain, The Clans and Tartans of Scotland, p. 22, 25.
44. Nigael Tranter, p. 10.
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46. Church History, p. 232.
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48. Truth Will Prevail, p. 295-6.
49. Truth Will Prevail, p. 279.
50. Truth Will Prevail, p. 278-9.
51. Truth Will Prevail, p. 274-5, 942. K2tw.50
52. Michael & Alison Prichard, Tranter’s Terrain, p. 56.
53. Marion Lochhead, The Scots household in the 18th Century, p. 6, 13, and 20.
54. R. Page Arnot, History of the Scottish Miners, p. 20-21.
55. “Life-Styles in the Lowlands of Scotland: 1700s to 1900s”, World Conference on Records, Series 426, p. 4.
56. Marion Lochhead, p. 223.
57. Conway B. Sonne, Ships Saints and Mariners, 973. W2ss, p. 201.
58. Lincolnshire, Past and Present, p. A.
59.Lincolnshire, p. 4.
60. Lincolnshire, p. 6.
MURDER AND ROBBERY!
WHEREAS, on the 4th of May, 1801, between the hours of seven and eight o’clock in the morning, a man who had been a carman to Mr. Addison of Broad-street, Ratcliff, Potato Dealer, in April 1800, and since has been as a labourer working in gravel pits and other earthly employments, going by the name of Sam, (no other name obtained) was upon the premises of James Hague at Rhodes Well, Limehouse, and conversed with the servant, John Johnson, and after walking with J. Johnson towards Limehouse parted with him near the Britannia, and is suspected to return back to the premises, and finding Elizabeth Johnson, his wife, about sixty years old, alone, did, with a blacksmith’s hand hammer, when cutting bread and butter for breakfast, strike her upon the head so as to knock in the skull, which immediately proved her death; he then proceeded to rob the house of money of about eight pounds, four silver teaspoons marked T.L., all the man’s shirts and sheets, her ring and linen, with a new brown stuff gown and a new drab coloured coat, and many other articles.
The description of the man as follows–He is a stout made man, about five feet six inches high, short hair of a dark colour, stands and walks upright, squints with his left eye, had on a brown jacket, his clothing poor and dirty, had on a blue apron, and has been seen with Johnson’s new coat on since his escape, which is far too long for him; he appears as a gardener, or farmer’s servant. –Whoever will give information to James Hague, of Narrow-street, Limehouse, so he may be taken into custody, shall be well rewarded.
*The man appeared about 30 years old (hand-written on bottom of flier)
Printed by J. Skirven, Ratcliff-highway London
Elizabeth Church Johnson, born about 1741, died at Limehouse 4 May 1801
Elizabeth Eliza Skeggs, wife of P.W. Bott, was a daughter of James and Charlotte Trowbridge Skeggs — James, her father, was son of William Skeggs the taylor, who was the son of the murdered woman and Joseph Skeggs who left her for her sister, Ann Church.
Elizabeth then married John Johnson.
hey i am karizma bott and i just had a question. are you really a bott. if so thank you for all the info. i loved it. if not how did you get all this. i was woundering if you could email me with any more info on the bott family.
Yes, Karizma, I am a descendant of the Botts. I’m glad you are finding it helpful. I have put what information I have online.